Protecting the foundation and magnificent edifice of the legal profession: Reflections on Thukwane V Law Society of the Northern Provinces 2014 5 SA 513 (GP) and Mtshabe V Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope 2014 5 SA 376 (ECM)
The High Court decisions in Thukwane v Law Society of the Northern Provinces 2014 5 SA 513 (GP) and Mtshabe v Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope 2014 5 SA 376 (ECM) dealing with the question whether a parolee could be considered a "fit and proper person" to be admitted and readmitted to the roll of attorneys raise important and interrelated issues demanding definitive and systematic consideration. This contribution seeks to isolate some of the vexed questions concerning the novel issue of whether a person previously convicted of a criminal offence and who is still serving a sentence under a parole could be admitted and/or readmitted to the roll of legal practitioners.
Thukwane and Mtshabe demonstrate that the admission or readmission must not be damaging to the integrity and standing of the profession, the judicial system, or the administration of justice, or be contrary to the public interest. It is trite that public confidence in the legal profession is more important than the fortunes of any one practitioner or prospective practitioner.
Keywords: admission; readmission; legal profession; fit and proper; parolee; reformation; integrity; honesty; legal practitioner