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Can Attorneys Claim to be an Expert in Terms of the New Rules?

The new rules have set out a section dedicated solely to the consideration of when and how an Attorney may claim to be an expert or specialised.


Expertise and Specialisation


Section 42 of the Rules of the Attorneys' Profession makes a distinction between Experts and Specialists.


Members may, on the basis of experience, advertise themselves as being an expert or as offering expertise services.


Members may, on the basis of specialised qualifications, advertise themselves out as being specialists or as offering specialist services.


Council Decision


The Law Council ("Council") may, upon noting a member's claim of expertise or specialisation, at its own discretion:

  1. require a member to show good cause by a specified date as to why he or she should not be ordered by the Council to cease to hold himself or herself out as a specialist or expert in any particular branch of the law;

  2. order the member to cease holding himself or herself out as a specialist or expert in the branch of law concerned if it is the opinion of the Council that the member's claim is not justified; and

  3. declare that such order shall serve as notice in terms of Rule 50 (Disciplinary Proceedings) without in any way limiting the Council's powers in terms of Rule 50.

Conclusion


Practitioners are free to hold themselves out as experts or specialists but may be required by the Council to provide evidence of such claim.


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