LSSA News – March 2022

March 1st, 2022
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Risk Management and Compliance Programme for legal practitioners

In terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 (FICA), a legal practitioner who practices as defined in s 1 of the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979 (the Attorneys Act) are accountable institutions.

The erstwhile law societies, as contemplated in s 56 of the Attorneys Act are listed as the supervisory bodies for attorneys in terms of sch 2 of FICA. In a communication dated 8 January 2020, the Legal Practice Council (LPC), among other, indicated that:

‘The Financial Intelligence Centre (the Centre) advised the Legal Practice Council [(LPC)], as the successor to the Law Societies, that the Minister of Finance had decided, prior to the LPC coming into being on 1 November 2018, to remove the Law Societies from Schedule 2 to FICA and that the Centre would take over that supervisory function.

The amendment to Schedule 2 has been delayed, but the Centre asked the Council to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding [(MOU)] in terms of which the Council delegates its powers to the Centre until such time as the amendment takes place.

The Council agreed to enter into such an MOU, and this was signed by the LPC on 5 November 2019, on which date it took effect.

Attorneys should therefore note that the Centre is now the entity that supervises compliance by attorneys with FICA.’

While amendments to FICA are still pending, the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) reminds attorneys that:

  • All practising attorneys (in its 2020/21 Annual Report, the FIC states that attorneys register with it based on the number of main businesses and branch offices, rather than the individual practitioners active in each office or branch) are in terms of s 43B of FICA required to:

– register as accountable institutions with the FIC. For more information on how to register, see: www.fic.gov.za.

– notify the FIC in writing within 90 days of any changes to the particulars furnished to the FIC.

  • The LPC requires proof of registration in terms of FICA (ie, ORG ID) when opening a legal practice. Legal practitioners must, in support of the application for the Fidelity Fund Certificate, confirm its annual statement on trust accounts, that it is registered as an accountable institution in terms of FICA.
  • Section 42 of FICA provides that attorneys, as accountable institutions, must develop, document, maintain and implement a Risk Management and Compliance Programme for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing. The programme must enable the attorney to identify, assess, monitor, mitigate and manage the risk that the provision of services rendered by the attorney may involve or facilitate money laundering activities or the financing of terrorist and related activities.
  • Legal practitioners must submit regulatory reports as required, among other, in terms of ss 28 and 29 of FICA, namely, cash threshold reports and suspicious and unusual transaction reports to the FIC.

The LSSA has prepared guidelines for attorneys and firms to help them prepare their unique Risk and Management Compliance Programmes, which can be accessed on the LSSA’s website at www.LSSA.org.za.

 

LSSA AGM – save the date!

Please note that the Law Society of South Africa’s annual general meeting and conference will take place on 23 March 2022. The AGM will be held at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Johannesburg and will immediately be followed by the Southern African Development Community Lawyers Association annual conference and general meeting, which is scheduled for 24 to 25 March 2022 at Birchwood Hotel in Kempton Park, Johannesburg. More information will be communicated in due course.

 

Meeting of the LSSA and the LPC

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) will set up a meeting with the new LPC Council. Legal practitioners are requested to advise the LSSA on any important issues that they want the LSSA to raise. E-mails can be sent to nomfundom@LSSA.org.za.

 

Call for nominations for LPC provincial council elections

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) urges legal practitioners to participate in the election of the new Legal Practice Council (LPC) provincial councils.

At the beginning of the year, the LPC called for nominations of practising attorneys and advocates for the elections to the LPC Provincial Councils. Attorneys could only be nominated and seconded by attorneys, and advocates could only be nominated and seconded by advocates.

Six attorneys and four advocates need to be elected in eight of the nine provincial councils, with the Gauteng Provincial Council needing eight attorneys and four advocates.

Nominations opened on 18 January 2022 and closed on 31 January. Elections started on 22 February and will end on 7 March. The results will be announced on 11 March 2022.

To read GN761 GG45770/17-1-2022 from the Government Gazette, please visit www.gov.za.

 

Reminder to register for professional examination

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) would like to remind practitioners that the registration for the first session for the 2021 examinations is now closed.

The dates for the first session of 2022 exams are as follows:

Attorneys Admission Examination

  • 15 March 2022 Paper 1 and 2
  • 16 March 2022 Paper 3 and 4

Conveyancing Examination

As of 2021, the exam is written over two days, with Paper 1 on theory and Paper 2 on practice.

  • 6 April 2022 Paper 1
  • 13 April 2022 Paper 2

Notarial Practice Examination

  • 7 April 2022

The registration for the second session will open on 6 June 2022 and close on 8 July 2022.

Advocates Admission Examination

  • 6 April Paper 1 and 2
  • 7 April Paper 3 and 4
  • 13 April Paper

The registration for the second session will open on 6 June 2022 and close on 8 July 2022.

Visit www.lpc.org.za for more information and download the notice at www.lpc.org.za.

 

Company and close corporation reinstatement requirements

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) have circulated a practice note, which took effect on 1 January 2022. It deals with the requirements for the reinstatement of companies and close corporations. Visit www.cipc.co.za to read the practice note.

 

Notice on Johannesburg Unopposed Motion Court

At the end of 2021, Deputy Judge President, Roland Sutherland issued a circular to announce, among other things, that the number of judges in the unopposed motion court would be doubled in term 1 of 2022, which would reduce the lead time to a hearing. At the beginning of January, Judge Sutherland issued a notice to all litigation attorneys in Gauteng to let them know that the required number of judges cannot be made available.

Judge Sutherland also states that some practitioners took up the invitation to accelerate the hearing date of their matters and these revised dates have now had to be withdrawn. Judge Sutherlands concluded the notice by saying that although they will not be able to introduce any innovations before the second term of 2022, consultations with the leadership of the legal profession will be conducted regarding the organisation of the unopposed motion court, and other courts, which will include the prospects of acting appointments to expand the judicial capacity of the court.

Visit www.LSSA.org.za to read the notice.

 

Contingency Fees Act

Practitioners are reminded that the LPC has published Rules in terms of s 6 of the Contingency Fees Act 66 of 1997. These rules can be found in GN525 GG42739/4-10-2019 at www.gov.za.

 

Follow the LSSA on social media to get the latest information as it happens!
  • Facebook: @LawSocietyofSA
  • Instagram: @thelawsocietyofsouthafrica
  • LinkedIn: @lawsocietyofsouthafrica
  • Twitter: @LawSociety_SA

Nomfundo Jele, Acting Communications Manager, Law Society of South Africa, nomfundom@lssa.org.za

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2022 (March) DR 5.

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