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Law Society of South Africa Announces Publication of draft Legal Services Charter

The third draft of the Legal Services Charter (LSC) has been published for comment. The Charter will be discussed at each Law Society of South Africa constituent's AGM, and comments are to be submitted by 14 November. The joint Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and General Council of the Bar (GCB) Charter Focus Working Group will meet on 24 November to debate the LSC and finalise any changes. The LSC will then be placed before the LSSA Council at its meeting on 29 November for debate and approval before going back to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

The Legal Services Charter seeks to address issues such as access to legal work including state and parastatals contracts by black legal practitioners as well as the empowerment of such practitioners. The envisaged transformation includes the need to identify several strategies to bring about racial and gender equality in law firms and other institutions rendering legal services. The Charter is widely viewed as a mechanism to put in place measures to accelerate the achievement of race and gender balance in the composition of the judiciary and the legal profession at large as well as promoting access to justice for all South Africans.