constitutional right

constitutional right:


M Slabbert

Magda Slabbert. BA (Hons) HED B Proc LLB LLD (UFS) Professor Department of Jurisprudence, University of South Africa (

Such value judgments have been politically influenced in South Africa in the past. When Mahatma Gandhi applied to be admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Natal, his application was opposed by the Law Society of Natal because he was a person of Indian origin and as such not a “fit and proper” person to practise law.10Madeline Wookey’s articles of clerkship were refused because she was a woman and women were seen to be improper for legal practice.11 During the years before South Africa became a democracy, various Law Societies brought applications to have lawyers involved in the struggle against apartheid removed from the roll of attorneys or advocates mainly on the basis that they were not “fit and proper” persons because they violated the legislation of the country.12 Soon after the establishment of the new democracy the character screening of lawyers was tested constitutionally.

The issue was first raised under the interim Constitution of 1993. In Prokureursorde van Transvaal v Kleynhans13the court had to comment on the constitutionality of its statutory power to remove “unfit and improper” persons from the roll of attorneys. It was argued that this power violated section 26(1), the right to free economic activity, of the interim Constitution. The court rejected the argument and held that standards could be set for the legal profession as far as both “competence” and “unquestionable integrity” were concerned, either on the basis of the internal limitation of section 26 or in terms of the general limitations clause, section 33 (1).14

14 Prokureursorde van Transvaal v Kleynhans 1995 (1) SA 839 (T) 850 G-J.

On the Other Side of Opposite/The Other Side of Wild

The autobiography of an attorney of South Africa.

This biography will take you to the wild side of the legal profession, a special insight for any prospective lawyer.

A lifetime story complicated with plots of legal practice, hunting safari and African tradition:

“George took 8 long-suffering years to convince the Law Society of the Northern Provinces that he was a fit and proper person to be re-admitted on the roll of attorneys … more proof was needed to persuade the Judges that his rehabilitation was complete, his reform of his character permanent. In 2002 George was duly re-admitted as an attorney in the High Court of South Africa.

He was “born again” into the legal profession. Significantly his re-admission was not so widely reported as his removal, although the issues in argument were more grievious in the first mentioned than the latter.

On the day he was re-admitted, Judge de Villiers found the affidavit of  Rabia  (Nellie) Valjie most convincing in that it was the first time he had a mother-in-law testifying for her son-in-law .”