Rules by the Legal Services Ombud

May 1st, 2022

The Legal Services Ombud, Justice Sirajudien Desai, has released rules in terms of ss 95(2) and (5) of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA). Justice Desai has been appointed as the Legal Services Ombud since January 2021, however, his office is not yet established, and it is not yet operational. The rules were made prior to publication for comment because the LPA came into operation in a staggered manner.

In the notice for the released rules, Justice Desai states that the Legal Practice Council (LPC) and other related provisions came in two years before the appointment of the Ombud, therefore, the staggered approach has impacted on the disciplinary process of the LPC. The notice states that the appeal proceedings of the LPC cannot be proceeded with as the office of the Ombud is not operational.

Justice Desai rightly states that the fact that the office of the Ombud is not yet operational has a negative impact on the perception by the public of the legal profession. ‘It also has a negative impact on the resolution of disputes and in affording redress to the publics’ complaints. The establishment and maintenance of the lay person list as contemplated in section 37 [of the LPA], requires the Office of the Legal Services Ombud to be in operation,’ Justice Desai added.

The rules were approached through s 95(5) of the LPA in order to realise the provisions of s 34 of the Constitution. This will assist in affording both members of the public and the profession a speedy resolution of the disputes and avoid further delays.

The schedule contains:

  • Ways in which complaints should be submitted to the Ombud.
  • Service of summons.
  • Substituted services.
  • The annual report of the Office of the Ombud.

The full rules are available here: Comments on the rules can be made to the Office of the Ombud within 30 working days after 14 April 2022 by –

  • posting such representations to the following address: PO BOX 1202, Pretoria, 0001;
  • delivering such representations by hand at the following address: Spooral Park Building, 2007 Lenchen Avenue South, Centurion, Pretoria; or
  • e-mailing:

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 This article was first published in De Rebus in 2022 (May) DR 3.

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