Lawyers claim the government wants to bring them under state
South African lawyers fear that the government's draft Legal Practice Bill could bring the legal profession, including the Bar, under state control. The Bar is up in arms. The Chairman of its General Council, Jeremy Gauntlett, has claimed that the legislation will 'destroy a sinew of our constitutional democracy. It will send an unmistakable message to those who invest in South Africa and who monitor closely the quality and independence of its professions.' The bill proposes to regulate solicitors and barristers, through a council which would report to the minister of justice, who would select its key members. Senior judges are now appointed from the ranks of ageing barristers; the fear is that the bill would undermine the Bar's, and thus the judiciary's, independence.
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