The Office of Legal Services Ombud (OLSO) is appointed by the President of the Republic of SA in terms of Section 47 of the Legal Practice Act, 2014 (Act 28 of 2014).The President appoints a retired judge to be the OLSO.
The OLSO is an independent and impartial body. The OLSO is only subject to the Constitution and the law. Has neither side to take nor anyone to protect except the public interest.
The OLSO is appointed for a term of 7 years renewable for another 7 years.
The OLSO deals with complaints against legal practitioners (Attorneys and Advocates), candidate attorneys, candidate legal practitioner and those undergoing pupillage; or
Complaints by legal practitioners either against findings of the Legal Practice Council (LPC) or as an Appeal process.
The OLSO does not deal with complaints against the following persons or groups:
The LPC is also established by the same Act that establishes the OLSO (Legal Practice Act, 2014 (Act 28 of 2014)). Section 4 of Chapter 2 of the Act, establishes the South African Legal Practice Council. Each Province within the Republic has a Provincial Council.
The LPC and OLSO are neither in competition nor in conflict with each other. The LPC is the administrative and regulatory body of all legal practitioners. Whereas the OLSO is the Ombud (oversight body) for the legal profession. Both offices have mandates to investigate complaints against legal practitioners.
The scope of mandate of the OLSO is as follows:
Complainants are encouraged to first report the complaint with the Provincial LPC wherein you reside for assistance.
If as a complainant, you are dissatisfied with the processes or progress or findings of the complaint of the LPC, you MAY approach the OLSO for assistance.
A complainant may approach OLSO directly with a complaint. The OLSO may also conduct an investigation on its own initiative OR on receipt of a complaint.
It must be noted that Office of the Legal Services Ombud does not render legal advisory services. You are advised to seek legal advice from a suitably qualified individual.
This information does not purport to serve as legal advice. The accuracy of this information can only be verified by the Office of the Legal Services Ombud.
The above information is for information purposes and guidance and not to be considered to be a legal reference and does not replace nor supersede any legislation.
The Office of the Legal Services Ombud does not accept any liability due to any loss, damages, costs and expenses, which may be sustained or incurred directly or indirectly as a result of any error or omission contained in this document.
A reader in doubt regarding any aspect of the information contained herein, is advised to refer to the relevant legislation or to seek a formal opinion from a suitably qualified individual or to call the Office of the Legal Services Ombud.
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