The advocate and attorney professions have traditionally been separated, with advocates having to receive “briefs” or instructions from attorneys in order to represent a client. This arrangement has often resulted in the unnecessary duplication of fees, with many persons being denied access to justice due to the inability to pay such fees.
The Legal Practice Act of 2014, which came into operation on 1 November 2018, has created a new breed of advocate who may take direct instruction from a member of the public, thus eliminating the need for an attorney and reducing the cost of legal representation. The objects of the Act are to:
• Provide a framework for the restructuring and transformation of the legal profession
• Ensure that Constitutional values are embraced and that the rule of law is upheld
• Ensure that legal services are accessible
• Regulate the legal profession in the public interest
• Remove barriers for entry into the legal profession
• Strengthen the independence of the legal profession
• Ensure accountability of the legal profession to the public
A Code of Conduct applicable to all legal practitioners (attorneys and advocates) has been published in terms of the Act. Practitioners who do not act in accordance with the ethical guidelines contained in the Code are liable to disciplinary action by the newly-formed Legal Practice Council.
Advocates KZN Group fully supports the objects of the Act and subscribes to the Code of Conduct. All of our practitioners are registered with the Legal Practice Council.