About the LPC

February 1st, 2022

The Legal Practice Council (LPC) has been in existence since 2018, yet there are still legal practitioners who do not know its function or the difference between the LPC and the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA). This has led to some confusion in the profession to the extent that legal practitioners want to submit their audit documents to the LSSA instead of the LPC. The confusion by the public can be seen by the number of calls the LSSA receives from the public about attorneys.

For a simpler explanation, the LPC has taken over the functions of the former four provincial societies, namely the Cape Law Society, the Free State Law Society, the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society, and the Law Society of the Northern Provinces. The LSSA, on the other hand, continues with its former functions, which are:

  • To provide legal education through its Legal Education and Development (LEAD) division. LEAD provides access to quality learning, which is relevant and affordable through its extensive range of learning activities (seminars, courses, etcetera).
  • To publish the De Rebus journal, which is an educational tool used by the profession for research purposes.
  • Through its Professional Affairs Department, to coordinate and support the activities and representations of the LSSA’s 24 specialist committees. The department comments on issues and legislation that affect the legal profession and the public. The department also liaises with Parliament and LSSA stakeholders and coordinates special projects.

The website of the LPC states that: ‘The Legal Practice Council is a national, statutory body established in terms of section 4 of the Legal Practice Act, No 28 of 2014 [(LPA)]. The Legal Practice Council and its Provincial Councils regulate the affairs of and exercise jurisdiction over all legal practitioners (attorneys and advocates) and candidate legal practitioners’. ‘The Legal Practice Council is mandated to set norms and standards, to provide for the admission and enrolment of legal practitioners and to regulate the professional conduct of legal practitioners to ensure accountability’.

According to s 5 the LPA, the objects of the LPC are to –

‘(a) facilitate the realisation of the goal of a transformed and restructured legal profession that is accountable, efficient and independent;

(b) ensure that fees charged by legal practitioners for legal services rendered are reasonable and promote access to legal services, thereby enhancing access to justice;

(c) promote and protect the public interest;

(d) regulate all legal practitioners and all candidate legal practitioners;

(e) preserve and uphold the independence of the legal profession;

(f)  enhance and maintain the integrity and status of the legal profession;

(g) determine, enhance and maintain appropriate standards of professional practice and ethical conduct of all legal practitioners and all candidate legal practitioners;

(h) promote high standards of legal education and training, and compulsory post-qualification professional development;

(i) promote access to the legal profession, in pursuit of a legal profession that broadly reflects the demographics of the Republic;

(j)  ensure accessible and sustainable training of law graduates aspiring to be admitted and enrolled as legal practitioners;

(k) uphold and advance the rule of law, the administration of justice, and the Constitution of the Republic; and

(l)  give effect to the provisions of this Act in order to achieve the purpose of this Act, as set out in section 3’.

The message about what the LPC is all about is somehow not getting across to the profession despite the numerous editorials I have written and numerous articles published in De Rebus. For a deep dive into the explanation of what the LPC is all about, read all articles published on the topic here: www.derebus.org.za

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The decision on whether to publish a particular submission is that of the De Rebus Editorial Committee, whose decision is final. In general, contributions should be useful or of interest to practising attorneys and must be original and not published elsewhere. For more information, see the ‘Guidelines for articles in De Rebus’ on our website (www.derebus.org.za).

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  • Upcoming deadlines for article submissions: 14 February; 22 March; and 18 April 2022.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2022 (Jan/Feb) DR 3.

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