For the first time at Rhodes Law Faculty (and being the second university in the country to do so), the legal ethics and professional responsibility course has become compulsory in the LLB. Despite legal ethics being a compulsory LLB course at all universities in most commonwealth jurisdictions, it is not a compulsory course for the South African LLB. The Rhodes Law Faculty has made this decision, since we believe that this will change in the near future with the current standards framework for the LLB, the impending LLB review across the country, and the gradual implementation of the Legal Practice Act 18 of 2014.
As the final year class enters its 4th teaching week, they have been exposed to situational variables through moral psychology, jurisprudential theory and practical concerns. In respect of the latter, Lucy Maxwell (pictured with Ms Helen Kruuse), a young solicitor from Melbourne Australia engaged the class with her experiences of the pressures of practice from the perspective of her involvement in corporate practice, in-house government lawyering and public interest work at the Legal Resources Centre.
Support for the course has been overwhelming from alumni and friends of the Faculty. Upon hearing that the course had been made compulsory, Mbuso Mtshali and Rajesh Sukha (who currently sponsor the Mtshali and Sukha Legal Ethics Prize for the top ethics student) raised the prize money from R1 500 to R3 000. Mbuso Mtshali, an alumnus of the Faculty and Sanlam Investments Head: Legal, Compliance and Company Secretariat, initiated a discussion on the important of ethics as the keynote speaker at the Faculty’s opening function in 2013, and is an ardent supporter of the Faculty’s empowerment initiatives together with other alumni. Rajesh Sukha, Sanlam Investments: Corporate Governance Specialist, graduated from the University of the Western Cape with a law degree. He is firmly of the belief that, with ethics playing such a pivotal role in corporate governance, the sooner students are exposed to it, the better it will be entrenched in the legal profession. He is passionate about ethics and he participates in the Sanlam Investments Ethics Committee.