The four-year undergraduate LLB: where to from here?
Van Niekerk C, ,
Van Niekerk, Carmel
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Fifteen years have passed since the four-year undergraduate Baccalaureus Legum (“LLB”) degree was first introduced in 1998. This degree was introduced by the Qualification of Legal Practitioners Amendment Act 78 of 1997 “as the minimum academic qualification for admission to practice as an advocate or an attorney … [to] ensure a level of equality between all practising lawyers” (Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Discussion Paper on Transformation of the Legal Profession (1999) 4). The justification for the introduction of the four-year LLB programme was twofold: First, there were too few black South Africans represented in the legal profession and, secondly, the country’s previous apartheid policy had resulted in a distinction between the law degree that could be obtained by whites and that which could be obtained by non-whites (Greenbaum “The Four-year Undergraduate LLB: Progress and Pitfalls” 2010 35 Journal of Juridical Science 1 2). To address these problems, Government introduced a single law degree, which was intended in one fell-swoop to remedy both the problem of under-representivity as well as provide equal qualifications for all.