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Law Society AGM on Saturday
The Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces was attended by an all time record number of attorneys for an AGM – a massive 487 attorneys (according to the attendance register which not all complete and which is obviously an understated figure).  The emphasis on issues of practical importance to colleagues no doubt played a role in this regard with the Road Accident Fund and Conveyancing featuring prominently on the Agenda.

The opening address was delivered by the Honourable Judge R Zulman, of the Supreme Court of Appeal who spoke of his disinterest in such lofty titles, and delivered an entertaining and forthright speech dealing with amongst other things, the proposed 14th Amendment.  He suggested the Law Society of the Northern Provinces become involved in determining the future of this legislation which is currently under discussion and that a White Paper was expected in due course.

Former attorney and now Judge, George Maluleke spoke of his experiences as a Judge from an attorneys perspective and said that he thought that experience as an attorney led to one bringing humanity to the bench and relayed experiences that he personally had in the past as an attorney when a Judge berated him in front of a client for poor pleadings – that were drafted and signed by Counsel!  He said that the very fact that attorneys, when signing High Court pleadings, had to state the Act of Parliament and capacity in which they did so was belittling to attorneys.

President Ronald Bobroff, who had already supplied a very thorough and in depth President’s Report to the membership which one would be well advised to read carefully, then addressed the capacity gathering.  He spoke of the onerous task as President of having to peruse and sign applications for the striking of attorneys.  He said in many cases this was young attorneys unfamiliar with bookkeeping and who struggled to retain competent bookkeepers.  He said the stigma of being struck from the roll almost always destroyed a person and we needed a mentoring system to assist newly admitted attorneys especially so as to try and reduce the numbers.

He spoke of the right of all people to have a right to safety and security and the crime wave sweeping South Africa and said the Constitution need to be used to tackle this problem with more appropriate cases being brought before the Courts.

Ronald again tackled one of his pet subjects - being the environment saying the green belts were being neglected and this very neglect then used as an excuse to sell off the land to developers. 

On the issue of the Road Accident Fund he complained of the lack of consultation with the profession subsequent to the Satchwell Commission.  That will no doubt also give grounds for Constitutional attack if need be in due course, in light of recent judgments by that Court.  The hit and run issue had recently come before the Constitutional Court, and although the organized profession had not been involved with the application hopefully a positive result could be expected shortly.

He said the Legal Board now saw its mandate as doing civil work in certain circumstances, something which was of concern to many attorneys.

On the issue of Contingency Fees he advised that only the Cape Law Society had not supported this already and that complaints had been received from some of its members that it had in fact not done so already.  He said not one member of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, which constitutes, the majority of all attorneys in the whole Country, had to be disciplined on this basis in 5 years and that proved that the public and attorneys supported this.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 07-Nov-06

Law Society AGM on Saturday


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