Legal Transformation Goals

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Minister Michael Masutha announced plans to the legislative framework to promote the usage of indigenous languages in court proceedings (published May 20th 2015). Read more.

The government released a discussion paper on the transformation of the legal profession, in the paper a few noteworthy points are highlighted. Namely:

  • Disadvantaged law graduates experience difficulty in entering the legal profession
    And establishing themselves as successful practitioners
  • Broad middle class of the South African society although not indigent, cannot afford the fees which practitioners charge.
  • The discussion paper goes on to raise the point that, the goal of transformation must be envisaged through, inter alia a legal profession which represents diversity of the South African society.

You can read up more on the discussion paper, and assess the points it raises as to why transformation in the legal profession is needed and the solutions it proposes, here: Read more.

With issues as those raised above, which some are a direct result of the education policies effected by the pre-democratic South African government, one can see that for transformation goals to be effected, it will take a collective effort.

The proposition of promoting the use of indigenous languages in court proceedings may be a step in the right direction, albeit still a framework which is in the works and not yet implemented – it sounds like a good plan. But the 1996 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa itself does promote the goals of a transformative society, perhaps given enough support structures and skills redistribution to the previously disadvantaged communities, the tide against an unbalanced legal profession can be decreased.

This shortage of skills within the legal profession prompted the legal education centre, to not only offer legal educative training programs – but also launch law clinics around South Africa (insert link). The goal of the legal education centre is to equip black legal professions, from historically disadvantaged parts of South Africa with the requisite legal skills in order for them to function, operate and thrive in the legal profession.

The above discussion is only a brief note on where transformation in terms of the legal profession is, with added insight from the legal discussion paper from the Department of Justice. There are undoubtedly more factors and issues at play, yet it is hoped that initiatives such as what Minister Masutha is proposing may be implemented to address the minimal transformation within the profession.

We will keep you posted on updates.

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