Could you kindly enlighten me on the meaning of a Trust Account Advocate in South Africa? I would greatly appreciate your clarification on this matter.
Trust Account Advocate – A relatively new concept
The concept of a Trust Account Advocate is relatively new in South Africa. Previously, all advocates were referral advocates. What this meant is that they could only receive work from an attorney. There were some exceptions.
A Trust Account Advocate, on the other hand, can obtain work directly from members of the public. There is, therefore, no need for an instructing attorney.
What is an advocate?
An advocate, just as an attorney, is a professional who is qualified and licensed to practice law, advise clients, and represent them in legal matters. They are also responsible for upholding the law and protecting the rights of their clients. As you can see below, there is a distinction between attorneys and advocates. And between referral advocates and Trust Account Advocates.
What are the various forms of legal practice in South Africa?
There three forms of legal practice in South Africa. This is according to the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014. Here, section 34 of the Legal Practice Act applies which states:
34 Forms of legal practice
(1) An attorney may render legal services in expectation of any fee, commission, gain, or reward as contemplated in this Act or any other applicable law, upon receipt of a request directly from the public for that service.
(2) (a) An advocate may render legal services in expectation of a fee, commission, gain or reward as contemplated in this Act or any other applicable law-
(i) upon receipt of a brief from an attorney; or
(ii) upon receipt of a request directly from a member of the public or from a justice centre for that service, subject to paragraph (b).
(b) An advocate contemplated in paragraph (a) (ii) may only render those legal services rendered by advocates before the commencement of this Act as determined by the Council in the rules, if he or she-
(i) is in possession of a Fidelity Fund certificate and conducts his or her practice in accordance with the relevant provisions of Chapter 7, with particular reference to sections 84, 85, 86 and 87;
(ii) has notified the Council thereof in terms of section 30 (1) (b) (ii).
(c) An advocate may render legal services in criminal or civil matters in expectation of a fee, commission, gain or reward as contemplated in this Act or any other applicable law upon receipt of a request directly from a justice centre for that service, in which event the provisions of paragraph (b) do not apply.
What type of advocate is Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf
Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf is a Trust Account Advocate. He may, therefore, obtain work directly from the public. When clients pay him in advance for legal services, they pay the fees into his Trust Account.