Prov­ince’s Jali elected to new SA le­gal coun­cil

Daily Dispatch - - News - SIYA TSEWU MTHATHA BU­REAU siyat@dis­patch.co.za

East­ern Cape at­tor­ney Nolitha Jali has been ap­pointed as one of 16 peo­ple who will be on the newly formed Le­gal Prac­tice Coun­cil.

Jali, 44, who is orig­i­nally from King Wil­liam’s Town, has been in the le­gal field for 15 years.

The coun­cil is made up of 10 at­tor­neys and six ad­vo­cates, with Jali, one of nearly 80 nomi­ness, the only at­tor­ney from the East­ern Cape.

Jali is a prac­tis­ing at­tor­ney and heads up the Le­gal Aid SA Mthatha lo­cal of­fice.

The of­fice is re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing le­gal as­sis­tance and para­le­gal ser­vices to the in­di­gent in the former Transkei towns in­clud­ing Mthatha, Tsolo, Ng­cobo, Mqan­duli, Ngqe­leni, Li­bode, KwaBhaca (for­merly Mount Frere), Bizana and Lusik­isiki.

Speak­ing to the Dis­patch on Thurs­day, a mod­est Jali said she was ex­cited about her new role.

“Bod­ies like the Gen­eral Coun­cil of the Bar and Law So­ci­ety of SA (LSSA) can and will still ex­ist as vol­un­tary as­so­ci­a­tions and per­form the union func­tion or be the voice of the pro­fes­sion,” she said.

Jali said one of the coun­cil’s first tasks would be to set up pro­vin­cial struc­tures.

“The Le­gal Prac­tice Act states that there must be nine pro­vin­cial struc­tures. The coun­cil will form pro­vin­cial coun­cils to re­place the statu­tory law so­ci­eties,” she said.

Jali said some of the coun­cil’s func­tions would be to en­sure that fees charged by le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers for le­gal ser­vices ren­dered were rea­son­able, to pro­mote ac­cess to le­gal ser­vice.

“By do­ing so, we will be able to en­hance ac­cess to jus­tice, to pro­mote and pro­tect the pub­lic in­ter­est, to pro­mote ac­cess to the le­gal pro­fes­sion and to reg­u­late all le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers and all can­di­date le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers,” she said.

Black Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber and head of pol­icy and leg­is­la­tion, Bayethe Maswazi, said the new coun­cil was im­por­tant be­cause at­tor­neys were self-reg­u­la­tory and ad­vo­cates “ex­isted as loose can­nons un­reg­u­lated”.

He said the LPC would come into ef­fect from Novem­ber 1, fol­lowed by elec­tions to ap­point pro­vin­cial com­mit­tee mem­bers.

“This is all hap­pen­ing in chap­ters. The fact that the pro­fes­sion has been reg­u­lated by acts from the 1970s is suf­fi­cient cause for change.

“The At­tor­neys Act of 1979 and the Ad­mis­sion of Ad­vo­cates Act will be re­pealed and the LPC is es­tab­lished in line with chap­ter 1 of the Le­gal Prac­tice Act.

“One of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the LPC is to fa­cil­i­tate the goal of trans­form­ing the le­gal pro­fes- sion,” he said.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic who have com­plaints or want to ver­ify in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing at­tor­neys in the East­ern Cape will no longer ap­proach the Cape Law So­ci­ety be­cause it will cease to ex­ist.

As time goes on, there will also be a le­gal ser­vices om­buds­man who will prob­a­bly be a re­tired judge.

“The ob­jec­tive is to cater for peo­ple who may want a body in­de­pen­dent of the LPC if they have griev­ances and the LPC fails to sat­isfy them,” he said.

NOLITHA JALI

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