Pretoria - It is inappropriate for any lay person or entity to simply approach a court from the start to have the name of a legal practitioner removed from the roll.
That applicant must first approach one of the legal profession’s watchdogs, according to the Johannesburg High Court.
This followed an application by two tax fraud accused, asking that the prosecutor in their case be removed for being guilty of misconduct.
But they did not succeed in their application as Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland dismissed it.
He said a complaint of misconduct against a legal practitioner must be lodged with the Legal Practice Council or any one of the voluntary regulatory bodies of legal practitioners.
The judge said a court hearing an application to have a practitioner struck from the roll will insist on a report from one of these bodies.
“Only where a regulatory body is delinquent in performing its functions would it be appropriate for a lay person to approach the court,” he said.
Tax fraud accused Maxwell Mavudzi and Jeremiah Dube had applied to have the name of the prosecutor in the case against them, advocate Skumbuzo Majola, removed from the roll.
They alleged he is guilty of gross unprofessional conduct because he earlier deliberately misled a court when he applied for a warrant of arrest against Mavudzi in 2015, as well as in his subsequent failed bail application.
Mavudzi has since been in jail. The arrest warrant has been the subject protracted litigation. The applicants said a judge earlier found Majola had misrepresented himself raising questions as to how they can now be prosecuted by someone found to have misrepresented himself under oath. Majola has throughout denied any wrongdoing.
Mavudzi also lodged a complaint against Majola with the legal watchdog. The judge said the court could not pre-empt the findings of the council while it was still probing the matter.