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Short Guide: The Legal Professionin South Africa Short Guide: The Legal Professionin South Africa

Bronze medal Reporter Adv. Alex Posted 27 May 2019
Short Guide: The Legal Professionin South Africa

The legal profession in South Africa offers a collection of career possibilities to the individual fascinated in the field of law. Before starting on this exciting and rewarding profession, it is, however, essential to know what are the academic requirements, the nature of work and the promotion possibilities for each of the careers available within the legal profession. All persons who gain their living by legal profession are called lawyers, involving judges, magistrates, advocates, attorneys, and university lecturers.

Since people with legal qualifications are found in particularly all sectors of employment, it will be difficult to talk about all the career possibilities available to them. The present condition of the economy and the high rate of unemployment have also had an effect on the job available to legal graduates.

In the past, South African educational institution traditionally offered various degrees, depending on which legal occupation the student desired to qualify in. These degrees were: BIuris, BProc, and LLB.

Those degrees have been abolished and have been re-arranged with a four-year LLB degree. This degree is offered at all universities and give access to all legal professions. A few colleges offer a two-year LLB program for understudies who have as of now secure a three-year BA or BCom degree, or a three-year LLB program for graduates who took no legal subjects during the course of their first undergraduate degree. After the accomplishment of the LLB qualification, a student may conduct post- degrees such as:

 - LLM;

 - LLD;

and/or - Specialised diplomas/certificates.

Read: Top Lawyers in South Africa

The legal administration in South Africa is consist of

The Courts: 

  • Constitutional Court;
  • Supreme Court of Appeal;
  • High Court;
  • Labour Appeal Court;
  • Labour Court;
  • Land Claims Court;
  • Special Income Tax Court
  • Competition Appeal Court
  • Magistrates’ Court
  • Divorce Court;
  • Equality Court;
  • Small Claims Court;
  • Community Courts and Courts of Chiefs and Headmen;
  • Other specialised courts/tribunals.


Officers of the Court in the Private Sector:

  • Attorneys
  • Advocates.

Administrative Officers under various Governmental Departments:

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development:

  • Registrars of the High Court
  • Clerks of the Magistrates’ Court

Department of Trade and Industry:

  • Registrars of Close Corporations, Companies, Patents, Trademarks, Copyright, Designs.
  • Department of Land Affairs:
  • Registrar of Deeds

Other Officials in the Administration of Justice in the Public Service under various Governmental Departments:

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development:

  • Presiding Officer – Judge or Magistrate;
  • Family Advocate
  • Master of the High Court
  • Public Prosecutor
  • State Attorney
  • State Law Adviser.


Department of Safety and Security:

Top ranking officials in the South African Police Services:

  • National Commissioner;
  • Deputy National Commissioners.

Department of Correctional Services:

Top ranking officials:

  • Minister of Correctional Services;
  • Deputy Minister;
  • Commissioner of Correctional Services;
  • CDC Finance;
  • CDC Development and Care;
  • CDC Corrections
  • CDC Central Services;
  • CDC Corporate Services.

Must Read: Family Law Attorney :Job Description, Duties And Salary

Law Commissions:

  • South African Law Reform Commission;
  • South African Human Rights Commission;  
  • The Commission on Gender Equality;
  • South African Competition Commission;
  • Water Research Commission;
  • Financial and Fiscal Commission
  • Public Service Commission
  • Other commissions.

Legal Aid and Advice:

  • Legal Aid Board
  • Legal Aid Clinics
  • Legal Aid Bureau
  • Legal Resources Centre.

It should be necessary to note that the qualifications needed in respect of all the above profession are different. If you are planning to study law, it is better to first talk with any lawyers in South Africa.

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