Legal Practice Council must reinstate Afrikaans in seven days – Solidarity

Henry

The Legal Practice Council (RPR) may face legal action if it does not reverse its decision that its entrance examination for candidate lawyers will henceforth be conducted only in English.

Solidarity says the entrance exam must still be taken in Afrikaans, which is why he is giving the council seven days to reintroduce Afrikaans.

At the end of last year, the council issued a notice in which it announced its intention to adjust its language policy so that the exam can no longer be taken in Afrikaans.

The decision is apparently based on the idea that writing exams in Afrikaans offers an “unfair advantage” to Afrikaans students.

The decision applies to barrister, notary and deed examinations that take place from 2024 under the auspices of the Legal Practice Council.

Concern now exists over the timing of the decision, as it was announced just weeks before the legal practitioners’ exams.

According to Riaan Visser, head of Solidarity’s legal network, this decision was taken without proper consultation with interest groups in the legal profession, or even a survey about their language preferences.

“The council holds a public role and should be aware of its responsibility to promote multilingualism in terms of the Constitution. “Instead of the council trying to raise other indigenous languages ​​to this level as well, it abolishes Afrikaans and keeps the advantage for just one language group, namely English,” he says.

Solidarity believes that the Legal Practice Council can much rather maintain and strengthen the legal profession’s historical connection with English and Afrikaans, and in addition lift and develop other indigenous languages ​​within the context of the legal profession.

Visser emphasizes that even government offices are obliged by law to be able to provide services in at least three official national languages.

“As an official national language, Afrikaans has a right to exist, and individuals who choose to sit the exam in Afrikaans have a right to do so. After all, this applies to speakers of all our national languages,” he says.

“If the Legal Practice Council had doubts about the principles, it could at least have consulted with interest groups about it before a decision like this was taken.”

Solidarity’s legal network says it is prepared to meet with the council to tackle the issue.

“However, Solidarity demands that the decision be withdrawn no later than January 17, otherwise Solidarity will reserve the right to take legal action.”