Formation of provincial structures will be beneficial to the legal profession

January 4th, 2023

The Gauteng Attorneys Association (GAA) held its Annual General Meeting on 24 November 2022 in Pretoria. In his presentation, the Chairperson of the GAA, Tiaan Joubert, said that legal practitioners should accept that their well-being is in their own hands. He pointed out that legal practitioners must rise and face the challenges of the legal profession as individual practitioners with their own unique strengths within their speciality field and contribute as a unified voice.

Mr Joubert added that to understand a voluntary association’s worth, one needs to understand their place in the legal community. He said that he found it shocking that almost eight years after the promulgation of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA), some legal practitioners still come to him not knowing the difference between the GAA, the Legal Practice Council (LPC), and the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA). He pointed out that the objective of the GAA is found in the organisation’s constitution, which objectives include:

  • To express its views on matters of common concern of its members and to make representation on behalf of members to all bodies and organisations, such as government departments, professional structures, the legal profession, and other bodies to cooperate with associations and other professional structures and consider legislation and to make representations, if necessary, in connection therewith.
  • To afford opportunity for the expression of the views on matters affecting the legal profession.
  • To keep members informed of matters affecting the legal profession and act on the general interest of members.

Chairperson of the Gauteng Attorneys Association, Tiaan Joubert speaking at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting on 24 November 2022 in Pretoria.

Mr Joubert told delegates that the objectives of the LPC are found in s 5 of the LPA. Mr Joubert highlighted some of the objectives of the LPC, including to –

  • facilitate the realisation of the goal of a transformed and restructured legal profession that is accountable, efficient, and independent;
  • ensure that fees charged by legal practitioners for legal services rendered are reasonable and promote access to legal services and enhance access to justice;
  • promote and protect the public interest;
  • regulate all legal practitioners and all candidate legal practitioners;
  • preserve and uphold the independence of the legal profession;
  • enhance and maintain the integrity and status of the legal profession; and
  • determine, enhance, and maintain appropriate standards of professional practice and ethical conduct of all legal practitioners and all candidate legal practitioners.

Speaking about the LSSA, Mr Joubert pointed out that since 1998 the LSSA has represented the attorney’s profession. The LSSA is made up of the Black Lawyers Association, National Association of Democratic Lawyers and the provincial associations and represents the attorney’s profession on a national level in South Africa. He added that currently the GAA is the only accredited provincial association with the LSSA.

Mr Joubert said the LSSA is a voluntary association unlike the LPC. He added that the LSSA is in the process of establishing the remainder of the provincial bodies. He said that the LPC has a regulatory function and not a union function. However, the LSSA provides a union function and has great value on a national level as most governmental bodies recognise the LSSA as a valued contributor of knowledge and advice. He added that the LSSA is also an invaluable source of education, however, as a body containing three separate bodies in it, with different ideologies makes taking certain decisions challenging. He pointed out that the LSSA is already a well-established entity and the formation of associations on a well-represented basis will be very beneficial for the profession.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

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