In a victory for legal empowerment campaigners in South Africa, the Legal Practice Bill was passed into law containing provisions for the statutory recognition of paralegals. Much of the credit for the recognition of paralegals must go to the National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices (NADCAO), which campaigned for the provision.
The new Act, which provides a legislative framework for the transformation and restructuring of the legal profession, establishes a South African Legal Practice Council. Under a section on forms of legal practice, sub-section (9) states:
“The Council must, within two years after the commencement of Chapter 2 of this Act, investigate and make recommendations to the Minister on (b) the statutory recognition of paralegals, taking into account best international practices, the public interest and the interests of the legal profession, with the view to legislative and other interventions in order to improve access to the legal profession and access to justice generally.”