The judgment of Brauckmann AJ in the Mpumalanga High Court, delivered on 3 April 2020, exhibited the consequences that may follow any breach of the regulations and directives. It followed the hearing of an urgent application in that court, in which several attorneys and counsel from Mpumalanga and other provinces were present.
Brauckmann AJ called on each practitioner to provide the permit which entitled them to attend the hearing. Very few of the permits produced by the practitioners were compliant with the regulations supplemented by the directives, and those in court illegally were not entitled to any fees.
Requirements to gain permission to travel:
- The Provincial Director of the relevant Provincial Legal Council which identifies the legal practitioner as practising, as defined in s 24 and 30 of the LPC Act must issue the permit. Application for same should be made at one’s local LPC Office.
- The person is to appear in a case that is identified as urgent and essential services under regulation 11A(B)(16).
Unable to obtain a permit from the relevant Provincial Director? Here’s what is required in order to commute between one’s residence and the court at which one is required to appear for an urgent and essential matter.
You must produce the following documents:
- Original or certified copy of the practitioner’s admission certificate;
- Proof of identity;
- Confirmation from the Registrar or Clerk of the relevant court that the matter is on the court roll for that particular day, that the legal practitioner is on record as the official legal representative in the particular matter and that the matter is urgent or essential.
Without possession of a permit that is properly issued by the relevant authority, travelling amounts to a breach of the regulations and directives, and is illegal. The practitioner will be exposed to possible criminal prosecution and investigation by the LPC into possible professional misconduct. Counsel are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity, accountability and diligence in carrying out their professional responsibilities, and such conduct amounts to a breach of the Code of Conduct.
(Legal practitioners are advised that updated Regulations and Practice Directives issued by the various Heads of Courts and the Replacement Directions can also be found on the LPC website (www.lpc.org.za))
BA (Wits) LLB (UCT)
Michael Matthews & Associates