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Foreign lawyers

Foreign lawyers wishing to practise as attorneys in South Africa

In terms of current legislation, foreign lawyers need to qualify as attorneys in South Africa in order to practise as attorneys.
Unless a person is from a designated country (at present Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho and the former Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei states) a person must complete a South African LLB degree and comply with the other requirements with regard to articles of clerkship or community service, practical legal training and sit the Attorneys Admission Examination.

A person who intends to be admitted in South Africa can submit his/her degree to a South African university for an indication of whether any credit by such university would be given with regard to any part of the foreign law degree.

Further requirements with regard to admission is provided in the Attorneys Act, 1979 as amended. A person must be a South African citizen or permanent resident and be otherwise fit and proper in the opinion of the court to be admitted as an attorney.

Note that:

An LLM does not give access to the profession.

A SAQA or university certificate that the foreign degree is of the same or higher status as the LLB is not sufficient.

In the case of a degree from a university in a designated country, a South African university may certify that such degree is of the same or higher status.

Further information on practice requirements for foreign lawyers. (PDF - 28Kb)