NEWS & ANALYSIS

LPC's draft language policy undermines freedom of language – Solidarity

This states that Legal Practice Council will accept only English as administrative language

Draft language policy for occupational group undermines freedom of language

20 August 2020

In response to the Legal Practice Council’s publication of the draft language policy, the Solidarity Occupational Guild for the Law Professionals says that the council with this language policy attempts to regulate the use of official languages in its operations to such an extent that the principle of freedom of language is undermined.

Although the draft policy mentions multilingualism,  the policy also emphatically states that the Legal Practice Council will accept only English as administrative language.

“The Legal Practice Council shows no commitment in promoting the use of official languages in the legal profession, but endeavors to force the exclusive usage of English in this profession,” says HenruKrüger, sector head of Solidarity’s Occupational Guild for Law Professionals.

The Legal Practice Council’s continuous attempts to promote English as exclusive language in the legal profession becomes clear with their approach to lawyers’ writing of the entrance examination which they promptly cancelled in 2019. It was the court application by Solidarity’s Occupational Guild for the Law Professionals and the Vereniging van Regsluivir Afrikaans (Association of Legal Practitioners for Afrikaans) that put this unilateral agreement to a stop. However, the battle in this regard is far from over.

In terms of section 6(4) of the Constitution, read together with sections 30 and 31, practitioners not only have to serve their various communities in the language of their choice, but also have the right to manage their firms to their advantage and in ways they see fit.

“It is of utmost concern that the Legal Practice Council has spread their tentacles to such an extent that they increasingly want to establish centralised control of the legal profession,” says Krüger.

The Occupational Guild for the Law Professioanls is already busy preparing comments on this matter.

Issued by Henru Krüger, Solidarity, Sector Head: Occupational Guild for the Law Professionals, 20 August 2020