Legal Ethics Under Scrutiny

A former attorney accused of embezzling over plus-minus, 6 million rand from the Road Accident Fund has been released on bail for 10 thousand rand earlier this month. He was allegedly arrested by the Hawks after they received a tip-off warning them of his alleged conduct.

The former attorney was struck off the roll in 2018 and accusations appear to have arisen when clients began querying the lengthy periods in which they were yet to receive payouts from the Road Accident Funds.

The matter has been postponed to later this year with the accused facing allegations of pocketing Road Accident Fund payouts.

The allegations and matter, once again, shines a torch on the legal code of ethics and conduct that legal practitioners are expected to abide by.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has published a code of good practice in terms of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 and, provincial Legal Practice Councils have accordingly published their codes of conduct under Section 36 (1) of the Legal Practice Act 28 2014.

Be that as it may, the ethical threads which bind the profession have been significantly long-standing and this matter will go down as one of the most recent tests to same.

The testing of recent regulatory reforms and longstanding codes against judicial scrutiny will definitely be beneficial, and we can only hope for an outcome that will benefit the profession in the long run.

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