Draft Paralegal Bill Under Construction

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

A Draft Paralegal Bill is in the pipeline.

The deputy minister of justice and constitutional development, John Jeffery, declared this during an address at the International Conference on Access to Justice, Legal Costs and other interventions, hosted by the Law Reform Commission in Durban.

The deputy minister emphasized that the proposed legislation is designed for paralegals who work on a voluntary basis in community-based Advice Offices.

“This narrowed focus is as a result of initial research being conducted and it being found that paralegals fall into many categories, many employed in different sectors of the economy, and others serving in CAO’s without remuneration.”

The draft bill “should provide for a regulatory body that would, inter alia, deal with matters such as regulation, discipline and the registration of CAOs and community-based paralegals (CBPs), the requirements to operate a CAO, and finally requirements to practise as a CBP, including the necessary qualifications”.

The deputy minister also referred to the recent coming into effect of certain chapters of the Legal Practice Act.

“The coming into operation of these sections bring with it a new era in the legal profession in our country.”

The act seeks to provide a legislative framework for the transformation and restructuring of the legal profession and to broaden access to justice via a mechanism to determine affordable legal fees.

Sabinet Cape Town Office