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




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