PRESS STATEMENT | International Commission of Jurists to make submissions to the South African Constitutional Court as amicus curiae in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Legal Practise Act

Date: 24/02/2022

Today, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), represented by Lawyers for Human Rights, will act as amicus curiae in the Constitutional Court in the matter of Bruce Chakanyuka & Others v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services & Others, 35726/21 (Chakanyuka) which will be heard together with the matter of Relebohile Cecilia Rafoneke v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services & Others, CCT 315/21 (Rafoneke). These matters concern the constitutionality of section 24(2)(b) (the impugned provision) of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA) to the extent that it precludes non-citizens from admission and enrolment as legal practitioners.

In the matter of Rafoneke, in 2021, the challenge before the Free State High Court was the constitutionality of the impugned provision to the extent that it precluded persons who are neither citizens nor permanent residents in the Republic of South Africa and who are not admitted as legal practitioners in foreign jurisdictions, from being admitted and enrolled as legal practitioners in the Republic.

On 16 September 2021, the High Court declared Section 24(2) of the LPA unconstitutional and invalid to the extent that it does not allow non-citizens to be admitted and authorised to be enrolled as non-practising legal practitioners. The Appellants in this matter have appealed the order of the High Court as it failed to mirror in exact terms the relief sought.

The ICJ has been admitted as a friend of the court, and its submissions will emphasize South Africa’s range of legal obligations in respect of the right to work under international human rights law such that all persons, including non-citizens, have a right to work. The ICJ will also submit that South Africa has a range of legal obligations which guarantee the right to a fair hearing, including the right to legal counsel of one’s own choosing and that restrictions on this right on a discriminatory basis are unlawful.

The ICJ’s Africa Director, Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh said “…The right to work is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law through its inclusion in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and other treaties. In the ICESCR the right to work emphasizes economic, social, and cultural development. The ICJ’s intervention aims to ensure that this right is fully recognised and implemented in South Africa.”

The matter is set to be heard virtually by the Constitutional Court, on its YouTube Channel, on Thursday, 24 February 2022 from 9:30.

For further information and media enquiries, please contact

ICJ:  Tim Fish Hodgson | Legal Advisor | 0828719905

Lawyers for Human Rights:  Charne Tracey | Attorney |

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