Qualifying as an attorney



Qualifying as an attorney


Registration of Articles of Clerkship as a candidate attorney


Requirements for admission as an attorney

The requirements for admission as an attorney are summarised in Section 15 of the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979, as amended (“the Act”). Sections 2 to 19 of the Act and Regulation 5 that were promulgated in terms thereof, prescribe all the matters that must be addressed in the application.


Compulsory attendance of training courses for candidate attorneys in terms of the Attorneys Act, 53 of 1979, as amended

Inter alia candidate attorrneys are compelled by law to attend a training course (School for Legal Practice [Section 2] or Short five-week course for candidate attorneys) before they are allowed to be admitted as attorneys:

Satisfactorily attendance of a School for Legal Practice (as presented by LEAD during the day, night, part-time or by way of correspondence or the night School for Legal Practice presented by the University of Pretoria) of approximately six months may result in reduction of the period of clerkship required.  However, the majority of law firms in South Africa prefer that their candidate attorneys serve a two-year period of articles of clerkship, irrespective of their attendance of the School for Legal Practice or not. 

Satisfactorily attendance of a short course (full-time or part-time) of approximately 25 days in total does not result in reduction of the period of clerkship, but does form part of the time periold of articles served.

Some law firms in South Africa have received accreditation from the respective law societies to offer courses that are valid in terms of compulsory attendance.


Admission Examination for Attorneys

It is ideal to first complete a course, and then write the admission exam.  For instance, attend Module I and write Paper I (High, Magistrate's and Criminal Court Practice and Motor Vehicle Accident Claims), attend Module II and write Papers II (Wills and Estate), III (Attorneys' Practice) and IV (Legal Accounting).  This is ideal but you may attend and write and pass in any sequence. 

Guidance manuals are provided at the School for Legal Practice and short courses which are helpful for practice and preparation for the examinations.


Advice to candidate attorneys

- Johan Botes, Baker McKenzie in 'Africa Legal'


Online request form for a Certificate of Good Conduct (ONLY for LLB students)

For registration of articles of clerkship (BCom Law and BA Law students should contact their respective faculties

- Author Elzet Hurter
Published by Elzet Hurter

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