The Legal Practice Bill is one of a series of laws with which the ANC is trying to create a new legal community, where the state has total control, directly or indirectly, at the expense of individual and community freedoms, Adv. Anton Alberts, the Freedom Front Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on Justice says.
He said the Bill has as its aim the creation of a national legal body which would replace the existing law societies and bar councils.
Through this, lawyers’ and advocates’ constitutional rights of freedom of association and profession and the property rights of the existing law societies and bar councils are being nullified.
“The FF Plus sees it as a thinly disguised attempt by the ANC to gain greater control of the legal profession, just like the judiciary has to transform to serve the ANC.
“The existing system of legal associations and law societies has throughout the centuries delivered good service to the public, despite the high costs in higher courts.
“The FF Plus agrees that cost is a big factor impeding the accessibility of courts and that it should be addressed. It can however not be done through an attack on the legal profession.
“Government should rather consider a legal association to assist the public. To force lawyers to reduce their legal fees, will on its own, not have the desired effect and could only lead to a lowering in the quality of services.
“In short, it means that a person pays for the best services. Even government does it. If the Bill is accepted, it will eventually negatively impact on the legal profession in South Africa and this will be to the detriment of all the people in the country,” Adv. Alberts said.
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