Conveyancing examination update: What has the LSSA done so far?

August 1st, 2019

Following the discussions on conveyancing examinations at the recent Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and National Association of Democratic Lawyers annual conferences, the LSSA has made headway in ensuring that the perceived gatekeeping in the conveyancing field through the examinations is dealt with.

The LSSA Conveyancing Task Team has made recommendations for various interventions that will deal with issues regarding the perceived gatekeeping in the field of conveyancing and the apparent high failure rate of the conveyancing examinations. The following recommendations made by the Task Team were approved by the LSSA and placed before the Legal Practice Council (LPC), who are responsible for the examinations:

  • The format of the examination needs to change, so that the examination is written on two separate days (with at least a few days between the papers), in contrast to the current format where both papers are written on one day.
  • The order of the two papers needs to change, so that the theory paper is written first, followed by the practical paper.
  • Candidates should retain credit for a period of a few years (to be determined) for the paper that they have passed, so that they will not have to re-write that paper.
  • Past examination papers and model answers must be made freely available to candidates by placing them on the LSSA website.
  • The pool of examiners must be increased and the qualification requirement to conduct the assessments should be reduced from seven years’ experience.
  • The LSSA is working on urgently introducing a mentorship programme, which will involve local conveyancers and organisations. A pilot project will be launched as soon as possible and the LSSA hopes to obtain the buy-in of potential mentors and mentees. The LSSA will hold a roadshow on 1 and 2 August 2019 to meet the mentors and mentees in Mthatha and Polokwane and to introduce them to the pilot project. Attendees can choose to attend on either day. During the roadshow, the mentors and mentees will have the opportunity to meet and possibly form a mentorship match. While the LSSA will make every effort to match a mentee to a mentor, the match will depend on the number of mentors available in the mentee’s geographical preferred area.

The LSSA is hopeful that these resolutions will be adopted by the LPC and that most, if not all, the interventions will be in place for the September 2019 examinations.

At the LSSA Exco meeting in July, the President of the LSSA, Mvuzo Notyesi reiterated the fact that the above recommended interventions have not been made to lower the standard of the conveyancing examinations so that the number of black conveyancers increases. Mr Notyesi added that as much as transformation needs to occur in the conveyancing field, the LSSA has noted that the high failure rate affects all races.

  • Give us your views on social media by tagging your message with #conveyancingmatters.

De Rebus mourns the loss of one of its own

It was with deep sadness the LSSA announced the death of the LSSA Communication Manager, Barbara Whittle. Ms Whittle was in the employ of the LSSA since 1987. She started off as an Editorial Assistant at De Rebus and worked her way through the ranks to become Communication Manager in 2006.

As part of the communication department of the LSSA De Rebus functioned under the guardianship of Ms Whittle. The De Rebus team and Editorial Committee will miss the deep pool of institutional knowledge and intelligence from Ms Whittle.

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This article was first published in De Rebus in 2019 (Aug) DR 3.

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