Legal Practice Act fatigue?

February 1st, 2017

Mapula Sedutla – editor

As we usher in the New Year, we should be mindful of the important happenings of the year that was, which will continue to take centre focus in 2017 and undoubtedly change the legal landscape as we know it.

In the year 2016 we saw the full workings of the National Forum on the Legal Profession (NF) take shape. The NF was established by s 96 of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA), to facilitate the transitional period from the current law society era to the unified regulation of the legal profession. At the end of last year, during the various annual general meetings (AGM) that were held by bodies within the organised profession, the LPA and its implications on the profession was discussed extensively.

At the Cape Law Society (CLS) AGM, outgoing President of the CLS, Ashraf Mahomed, discussed the importance of practitioners embracing the LPA as its primary aim is the creation of a unified body that will regulate the affairs of legal practitioners, transform the legal profession and regulate the legal profession in the interest of the public. Meanwhile, at the Law Society of the Northern Provinces AGM, President of the Black Lawyers Association and member of the NF, Lutendo Sigogo, highlighted the terms of reference of the NF. Mr Sigogo also spoke about the recommendations, which the NF must make to the minister of justice and other functions the body must perform before the end of its three year period, which is currently set for 1 February 2018 (see p 5 and 8).

Practitioners who are avid readers of De Rebus will know that the LPA has been reported on and discussed in many issues and some may be growing tired of this topic. However, there are many issues that the LPA has brought about that still has to be dealt with and discussed, which is the mandate of the NF and the profession at large. One such issue that still needs to be unpacked is the issue of pro bono under the LPA. Our cover feature article ‘More clarity on pro bono under the Legal Practice Act’ written by Erica Emdon looks at whether the provisions relating to community services contained in s 29 of the LPA have addressed the issue of pro bono service in a manner that is unambiguous and gives clear direction to legal practitioners regarding their responsibility towards pro bono service. The article gives two possible solutions on when pro bono can be conducted by legal practitioners (see p 26).

The NF has one more year to ensure that once the LPA is fully promulgated the legal profession does not find itself in a worse off position and that all issues that are in the Act are ironed out. De Rebus will continue to report on all the developments during the transition period. Practitioners are urged to send through their views on the LPA to

Would you like to write for De Rebus?

De Rebus welcomes article contributions in all 11 official languages, especially from legal practitioners. Practitioners and others who wish to submit feature articles, practice notes, case notes, opinion pieces and letters can e-mail their contributions to

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 (

  • Please note that the word limit is 2000 words.
  • Upcoming deadlines for article submissions: 20 February and 20 March 2017.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2017 (Jan/Feb) DR 3.

De Rebus