Reformation from Criminal to Lawyer: Is such Redemption Possible?

Keywords: Admission, legal profession, fit and proper, criminal record, reformation, integrity, honesty, lawyer


If a person with a criminal record were to apply for admission to the legal profession, the applicant would naturally harbour the hope that his or her application would succeed. However, in the absence of a reformation of his or her moral character, the certainty is that the application will fail, thus leading to disappointment. The aim of this article is to analyse the correctness of the above proposition. It is argued that a criminal record is not an insurmountable obstacle to a successful application for admission, but that such applications may succeed only in exceptional circumstances.





Slabbert 2011 PELJ

Slabbert M "The Requirement of Being a "Fit and Proper" Person for the Legal Profession" 2011 PELJ 14(4) 209-231

Case law

Behrman v Law Society, Transvaal 1980 4 SA 4 (TPD)

DA v President of the RSA [2011] ZASCA 241 (1 December 2011)

Ex parte Aarons (Law Society Transvaal Intervening) 1985 3 SA 286 (T)

Ex parte Cassim 1970 4 All SA 321 (T)

Ex parte Krause 1905 TS 221

Ex parte Ngwenya: In re Ngewnya v Society of Advocates, Pretoria 2006 2 SA 87 (W)

Ex Parte Moseneke 1979 4 SA 884 (T)

Ex parte Singh 1964 2 All SA 533 (N)

Incorporated Law Society, Transvaal v Mandela 1954 3 SA 102 (T)

Incorporated Law Society, Natal v Roux 1972 3 SA 145 (N)

In re Chikweche 1995 4 SA 284 (ZC)

Jasat v Natal Law Society 2000 2 All SA 310 (SCA)

Kaplan v Incorporated Law Society, Transvaal 1981 4 All SA 15 (T); 1981 (2) SA 762 (T)

KwaZulu-Natal Law Society v Singh [2011] ZAKZPHC 12 (25 March 2011)

Law Society v Behrman 1981 4 SA 538 (A)

Matthews v Cape Law Society 1956 1 SA 807 (C)

Prince v President of the Law Society, Cape of Good Hope 1998 8 BCLR 976 (C)

Prince v President, Cape Law Society 2000 3 SA 845 (SCA)

Prince v President, Cape Law Society 2002 2 SA 794 (CC)

S v Mamabolo 2001 3 SA 409 (CC)

Solomon v Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope 1934 AD 401

Swartzberg v Law Society of the Northern Provinces 2008 5 SA 322 (SCA)


Admission of Advocates Act 74 of 1964

Attorneys Act 53 of 1979

Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers Admission Act 23 of 1934

Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act 140 of 1992

Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101of 1965

Suppression of Communism Act 44 of 1950

Internet sources

Eliot date unknown

Eliot G date unknown George Eliot Quotes accessed 3 July 2013 accessed 3 July 2013

How to Cite
Slabbert, M., & Boome, D. (2017). Reformation from Criminal to Lawyer: Is such Redemption Possible?. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 17(4), 1497-1515.