Legal Aid SA (Lasa) lawyers are not forcing their clients to plead guilty, officials from the organisation told Parliament.
Legal Aid SA (Lasa) lawyers are not forcing their clients to plead guilty, officials from the organisation told Parliament.

Lawyers' R15m Covid-19 relief scheme extended

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Sep 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Legal Practice Council (LPC) has extended its R15 million scheme to support lawyers adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council informed all legal practitioners on Friday that applications for its legal practitioners' benevolent scheme, which were due to close on that day would now be extended by a further month and would be open until October 18.

The scheme provides once-off assistance to eligible legal practitioners in the form of a R5 000 grant per successful applicant.

Qualifying legal practitioners include those in good standing with the LPC, registered candidate attorneys or pupils, those not subjected to applications for suspension or striking from the roll and must have a net monthly income of less than R30 000.

Those legal practitioners with outstanding annual levies should approach their provincial offices for payment arrangements in order to qualify for assistance.

Independent Media reported last month that struggling lawyers whose practices have been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic will share in the R15m scheme.

At the time, the LPC stated that once the full R15m has been disbursed to eligible applicants no further applications will be processed.

“As the council, we acknowledge that the legal profession is experiencing difficulties during this time, and we are hoping that this limited support will assist practitioners who have been severely affected by this pandemic. Our profession has a number of practitioners who have limited access to funding from commercial institutions,” said LPC chairperson Kathleen Matolo-Dlepu.

Matolo-Dlepu also urged legal practitioners who have not been financially affected by the pandemic and who are able to donate to the benevolent scheme in support of their colleagues to do so by contacting the LPC.

The LPC recently pleaded with all legal practitioners to settle their outstanding annual levies as collection rates for these has been very low this year.

”The council is mindful of the difficult situation faced by the legal profession due to the impact of Covid-19.

“The Council is mandated to require payment of the levies to ensure that it is able to sustain all its functions and obligations,” it noted last month.

It told legal practitioners to enter into arrangements with the provincial offices to pay outstanding levies and those who cannot settle the levies in full were also urged to enter into such arrangements to the satisfaction of their provincial offices.

Political Bureau

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