National Forum on the Legal Profession was established by the Legal Practice Act, 2014 (Act 28 of 2014), as a body corporate with full legal capacity.
The role of the National Forum is to provide a legislative framework for the transformation and restructuring of the legal profession in line with constitutional imperatives so as to facilitate and enhance an independent legal profession that broadly reflects the diversity and demographics of the Country as set out in the Legal Practice Act.
The Forum is expected to level the playing field for the establishment of the Legal Practice Council and Provincial Councils.
Terms of reference of the National Forum
97. (1) The National Forum must, within 24 months after the commencement of this
(a) make recommendations to the Minister on the following:
(i) An election procedure for purposes of constituting the Council;
(ii) the establishment of the Provincial Councils and their areas of jurisdiction, taking into account the factors referred to in section 23(2)(a);
(iii) the composition, powers and functions of the Provincial Councils;
(iv) the manner in which the Provincial Councils must be elected;
(v) 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;
(vi) the right of appearance of a candidate legal practitioner in court or any other institution; and
(vii) a mechanism to wind up the affairs of the National Forum;
(b) prepare and publish a code of conduct for legal practitioners, candidate legal practitioners and juristic entities; and
(c) make rules, as provided for in section 109(2).
(2) (a) The National Forum must, within 24 months of the commencement of this
Chapter, negotiate with and reach an agreement with the law societies referred to in
section 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.
(b) The provisions of paragraph (a) do not preclude any non-statutory bodies or voluntary associations which are involved in the regulation of legal practitioners or matters dealt with in this Act, from negotiating and reaching an agreement with the National Forum in respect of the transfer of their assets, rights, liabilities, obligations and staff, to the Council or Provincial Councils.
(3) Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995), applies in respect of the transfer of the staff contemplated in subsection (2).
(4) If an agreement contemplated in subsection (2) cannot be reached by the parties concerned, any of the parties may agree to refer the matter to arbitration in terms of the Arbitration Act, 1965 (Act No. 42 of 1965).
(5) The Minister may extend the period of 24 months contemplated in subsections (1) and (2) if he or she deems it necessary.