Law Society welcomes appointment of Fhedzisani Pandelani as Acting Solicitor-General

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) welcomes the appointment of Mr Fhedzisani Pandelani as Acting Solicitor-General. ‘We are confident that Mr Pandelani has the skill, conscientiousness, integrity and independence necessary to provide the control, direction and supervision over all offices of State Attorney. The attorneys’ profession commits to support Mr Pandelani in the interest of justice and the rule of law,’ says LSSA President, Mvuzo Notyesi.

The State Attorney Amendment Act 13 of 2014, which came into effect on 3 February 2020, allows for the establishment of a Solicitor-General to oversee all litigation on behalf of the State.

According to the Justice Department, Mr Pandelani has been in practice for more than 20 years. He was admitted as an attorney in 1996 and has practiced in diverse areas of law, covering High Court, Labour Court and Magistrates Court litigation and is a skilled mediator and arbitrator. He is the current chairperson of the Gauteng Liquor Board and the chairperson of an external panel on appeals in terms of section 43 (5) National Environmental Management Act in Gauteng.

Mr Pandelani holds various qualifications from the University of the Witwatersrand including Baccalaureus Procurationis (B.Proc.) and LLB degrees as well as a Higher Diploma in Company Law. He has also lectured on various law modules through the Unisa Learning Centre and has for several years been an instructor at the Johannesburg School for Legal Practice.

‘Mr Pandelani’s curriculum vitae speaks for itself, we wish him the best in his new role,’ says Mr Notyesi.

REGISTRATION OPEN FOR LSSA CONFERENCE: JULY 2020

 

The Law Society of South Africa’s annual conference has been postponed to July 2020. The exact dates will be confirmed. The conference will focus on one of the key challenges for the legal profession; Renewal of the profession, access, diversity and sustainability.

The conference will be preceded by the annual general meeting (AGM) on the Thursday from 15h00 to 17h00 at the same venue as the conference. The AGM is open to all practitioners. Seats are limited for the AGM and booking is essential.

We have invited Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as well as the Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola, to give the profession guidance on how we as practitioners, can work around these challenges and can co-operate with their offices.

The rest of the day will be devoted to discussions on the sustainability and governance of the profession. There will also be a panel discussion on what members can expect from their professional association, focusing on what members expect from the LSSA.

On the Saturday, there will be a stakeholders’ discussion where representatives of the Legal Practice Council, the LSSA and the Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund will discuss what has been done since the implementation of the Legal Practice Act (LPA) and the challenges ahead. Since the LPA does not make provision for an annual meeting of members, this is a rare opportunity for practitioners to raise questions with representatives of these organisations.

Other sessions will focus on diversity and transformation looking at whether the objective of transformation was achieved and the failures. The legal practitioners of tomorrow will also be discussed, focusing on fees and related matters.

Registration for the conference is free. Please register here.
There will be a gala dinner on the Friday evening from 7pm. Registration for the dinner is R250.

Please make sure to also let us know if you will be attending the gala dinner and the AGM by ticking the relevant box on the online registration.

Book your seat today!

View the draft programme here
Register online here

LSSA Advisory: RAF handover of files

Dear Colleague,

The LSSA is very concerned about the letters that all attorneys appointed to the Road Accident Fund received dated 18 and 20 February 2020, being purported notice of handover of files in terms of clause 14 of the service level agreement.

Although the 18 February letter advises that panel attorneys are required to proceed with all trials and pre-trials pending handover of files, the simultaneous lapsing of all mandates to all panel attorneys and the subsequent handover of all files within a period of just over two months will inevitably have a significant impact on the finalisation of trials, pre-trial proceedings, settlement negotiations and the processing of claims in general to the detriment of claimants.

The letter of 20 February points out that clause 14.4.7 has to be complied with in all matters. This requires considerable work on the part of the attorneys handling those matters which will further detract from time available to proceed with trials and pre-trials in those matters on trial before 31 May 2020.

The RAF is currently under severe cash flow constraints. The cancellation of all mandates to all panel attorneys will give rise to further significant amounts due and payable for legal costs to the further detriment to many claimants who have been waiting for more than six months for payment of what is due to them in terms of Court Orders.

As far as the LSSA is aware, no official explanation has been offered by the RAF for their conduct nor has there been any statement issued by them regarding the arrangements made, if any, for the future conduct of the cases handed back to the RAF.

The LSSA fails to understand the reason for such drastic action and is of the view that it is unconstitutional, irrational, unreasonable and arbitrary.

The LSSA has demanded that the directive be retracted and that the RAF embarks on a process that does not seek to undermine basic principles of justice and its contractual obligations, failing which the LSSA will seek an urgent Court interdict.

The RAF Board has acknowledged receipt of the letter and advised that it will be meeting on 27 February to consider our demand and will get back to us on 2 March 2020.

We will advise you of further developments.

Regards

ANTHONY PILLAY
Acting Executive Director, Law Society of South Africa

LSSA Advisory  25 February 2020

Judgement reserved in Cape Bar vs Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and others

In this matter, the Cape Bar brought an application against Justice Minister Ronald Lamola for him to address what the Cape Bar views as ‘an irregularity’ which arose in the election of members of the Western Cape Provincial Council of the Legal Practice Council (LPC). The Cape Bar argued that a black male advocate was elected for the provincial LPC, over one of their members, a black female advocate, who received far more votes than her male counterpart.

In terms of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014, every Provincial Council (except Gauteng) comprises 6 attorneys and 4 advocates, of which 4 attorneys must be black and 2 white. Two advocates must be white and two black. Further, the Act provides that 50% of the members must be men, 50% must be women which means that only one black and one white female advocate will be appointed. The Cape Bar sought to have the provisions of the rules and regulations that allowed this, to be declared unlawful and invalid.

The Law Society of South Africa President, Mvuzo Notyesi, says that the LPA aims to promote diversity and transformation of the profession. ‘Without these provisions, the minority of practitioners –  being blacks and women – would not stand a chance of being nominated for such positions,’ he says, adding that: ‘The LPA regulations are not unlawful; they are needed to ensure that the previously disadvantaged are guaranteed a place in the local structures of the LPC and are also needed to make the profession more accessible to the minority.

LSSA legal team: Advocate Zaytoen Cornelissen and Ms Sonja Labuschagne, attorney and director at Barnard Labuschagne Inc t/a Ettienne Barnard Attorneys

 

 

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MVUZO NOTYESI  

LSSA Communications:

Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

Cross-border practice rights

The issue of cross-border practice rights is very much on the foreground. The matter is being discussed at various fora, including by government.

At the previous SADC Lawyers Association conference, a decision was taken to establish a task team to consider this prominent matter. Each SADCLA member is to come up with a position on how they see themselves in relation to cross-border practice rights and a consolidated paper will then be submitted to the relevant authorities.

The Law Society of South Africa’s (LSSA) understanding is that there are also some discussions at SADC level about Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), which also cover legal services. However, the negotiation of the MRAs will have to be between the various professional bodies.

The LSSA has developed a draft position paper and would like to solicit your views on it.

The position paper can be viewed here.

Please send your comments to kris@lssa.org.za by 28 February 2020.

Outcomes of LSSA Conveyancing Task Team’s first meeting of 2020

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) would like to notify legal practitioners that its Conveyancing Task Team is meeting regularly and had its first meeting for 2020 on 16 January.

The Task Team was established by the LSSA’s House of Constituents (HoC) in 2019 to review the concerns on the poor pass rate for the conveyancing admission examination. The LSSA is grateful that the Legal Practice Council approved most of its recommendations for various interventions regarding the exam which will be put in place in 2020.

During its meeting, the Task Team reviewed the overall provisional results of the first conveyancing exam (September 2019) after its recommendations. The results did not show great improvement in most provinces and the Task Team expects that the marks will be higher this year as the interventions take effect.

Conveyancing mentorship programmes
In August 2019, the LSSA introduced a pilot mentorship programme in Mthatha and Polokwane. The Task Team noted that the current mentees in the pilot programme did not write the September 2019 examination and several had indicated that they would only be writing the examination at the August 2020 sitting. The Task Team is optimistic that the mentorship programme will bear fruit as it is rolled out in other cities and towns.
The LSSA calls on all conveyancers to support the LSSA Mentorship Programme. It is up to the existing conveyancers to see that there is effective skill transfer in the profession. It is incumbent on each conveyancer in South Africa to make sure that the programme is a success.

LEAD conveyancing course
The LSSA would like to make legal practitioners aware that those who are registering for the upcoming LEAD (Legal Education and Development) Conveyancing Course will not have completed it in time for the first conveyancing examination sitting in February 2020. The reason is that in 2020, the LPC has brought forward the first examination sitting from April to February, while the LEAD course is scheduled to run from 01 February to 04 April 2020.

Practitioners writing the conveyancing examination in February are urged to enrol for the LEAD three-day exam preparatory course. Please see the details below:

City Dates in 2020 Times
Cape Town 17, 18 and 20 Feb 17:30 – 21:00
Durban 17, 18 and 20 Feb 17:30 – 21:00
Pretoria 12, 13, 14 Feb 2020 15:00 – 18:00

Cost: R800
Contact: Molalatladi Modiba on Tel +27 (0)12 441 4655 or molalatladi@LSSALEAD.org.za.

Click here to download brochure

The possibility of extending the three-day course to other areas is being investigated.

Read more about the conveyancing task team here.
 

Call for comments – Proposed amendments to Magistrates’ Courts rule 67 (Criminal Appeals)

The Rules Board for Courts of Law invites comments on proposed amendments to Rule 67 of the Magistrates’ Courts Rules. These proposals deal with the time frame for noting criminal appeals and for the manner in which notices in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act may be sent.

The proposed amendments can be viewed here.

Practitioners are invited to furnish the LSSA with their comment by 18 February 2020 by emailing Kris Devan at kris@LSSA.org.za You can also send comment directly to the Rules Board.

 

Implementation of the CaseLines System in the Gauteng Division of the High Court

The Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria and Johannesburg, is implementing a digital / electronic case management and litigation system, called the CaseLines system. The full implementation of the system will take effect from 27 January 2020.

The Judge President issued Practice Directive 1 of 2020 in terms whereof the Registrars are directed to create cases on CaseLines. Legal representatives will then upload the necessary case record and / or relevant documents onto the cases created on the system. Please note that NO hardcopy pleadings or other documents will be allowed on cases designated for the CaseLines system.

The Judge President also issued a CaseLines Quick Reference Guide.

This is an important Practice Directive and legal practitioners are urged to be fully acquainted with it.

Click here to view the Practice Directive.

Click here to view the Reference Guide.