Earlier this year the Independent Institute of Education (IIE) went to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to challenge the Legal Practice Act (LPA) 28 section 26 (1) (a) (PDF), which stated that only public university Bachelor of Law students (LLB) were allowed to practice as lawyers after they graduated.
Acting Judge Carol Sibiya then found that the Legal Practice Act was constitutionally invalid as it only allowed public university students to enter the profession while excluding private higher education students from doing so.
Now the case has taken another turn as IOL News reports that the IIE has brought an application forward asking the Constitutional Court for assurance that its 400 LLB students will be allowed to practice as lawyers after graduation.
“This was specifically sought by the IIE to bring certainty to itself, it’s LLB students and it was an effort to stem the prejudice that had been caused by the publicity known view of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society (KZNLS) that is, that the IIE’s LLB students would not be permitted to practice law in the country,” said IIE’s academic affairs, Dr Felicity Coughlan.
Furthermore IOL News says that the ruling made at the Pietermaritzburg High Court did not bring finality to the matter as the questionable legislature still needed to be amended by the government.
“It is also sought because it is still not known by when the amendments to the Legal Practice Act proposed by the Minister will be passed or implemented,” added Coughlan.
The publication concludes that the IIE hoped to emerge from the court with a ruling forcing the government to provide a timeline pertaining to when exactly it would change the troublesome legislation.