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Tasks of the National Forum on the Legal Profession

The National Forum (NF) must, within 24 months after 1 February 2015 make recommendations to the Minister on the following (the Minister may extend the period of 24 months if he or she deems it necessary):

  • an election procedure for purposes of constituting the Council;
  • the establishment of the Provincial Councils and their areas of jurisdiction;
  • the composition, powers and functions of the Provincial Councils and the manner in which the Provincial Councils must be elected;
  • all the practical vocational training requirements that candidate attorneys or pupils must comply with before they can be admitted by the court as a legal practitioners;
  • the right of appearance of a candidate legal practitioner in court or any other institution; and
  • a mechanism to wind up the affairs of the National Forum;
The NF must prepare and publish a code of conduct for legal practitioners, candidate legal practitioners and juristic entities; and make rules, as provided for in section 109(2).

The NF must also, within 24 months, negotiate with and reach an agreement with the law societies referred to in s 56 of the Attorneys Act and any other similar statutory bodies still regulating the legal profession established in the former homelands, in respect of the transfer of their assets, rights, liabilities, obligations and staff, to the Council or Provincial Councils.

Also within 24 months of 1 February 2015, the NF must make rules in respect of the following:

  • a competency-based examination or assessment for candidate legal practitioners, conveyancers and notaries;
  • the minimum conditions and procedures for the registration and administration of practical vocational training;
  • the procedure and directions pertaining to the assessment of persons undergoing practical vocational training;
  • the criteria for a person, institution, organisation or association to qualify to conduct an assessment;
  • the procedures to be followed by disciplinary bodies;
  • the manner and form in which complaints of misconduct relating to legal practitioners, candidate legal practitioners or juristic entities must be lodged with the Council; and
  • any other matter in respect of which rules must be made in terms of Chapter 10.

Before the NF makes any rule, it must publish a draft of the proposed rule in the Gazette together with a notice, calling on interested persons to comment in writing within a period stated in the notice, which may not be less than 30 days from the date of publication of the notice.
If the NF alters the draft rules as a result of any comments, it need not publish those alterations before making the rule.
The NF may, if circumstances necessitate the publication of a rule without giving notice, publish that rule without prior publication of a draft as provided for above, provided that the notice of publication states—

  • the reason why circumstances necessitated that publication without prior publication of a draft as provided for above; and
  • that any person who is aggrieved by the rule may make representations to the NF within a period stated in the notice, which may not be less than 30 days from the date of publication of the notice.