Some candidate attorneys were devastated by the news that they will have to rewrite their attorney admission examinations, following an announcement by the South African Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) on Monday.
The announcement comes after answers to an exam paper were leaked. As a result, candidate attorneys are forced to rewrite all four exams in October.
“The LSSA has taken this decision to protect the integrity and reputation of the profession,” LSSA co-chairperson Ettienne Barnard said.
“The LSSA acknowledges that many candidate attorneys did not participate in this unethical and unprofessional conduct and apologises for the inconvenience.
“Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the leaks and those persons involved.”
The society vowed to ensure that “appropriate action will be taken against any candidate who was complicit in this leak”.
This announcement has dire consequences for many aspiring attorneys.
One candidate attorney, who asked to remain anonymous, said that he had “lost faith in the system”.
“A lot of us have already signed contracts, hoping that we will get the results at a certain date, so that we can start practicing at a certain date,” he said.
“Because of this, those contracts will lapse. Those positions will probably be filled by someone who has been admitted already. You can understand the amount of stress that candidate attorneys are going through.”
‘Now I won‘t qualify without my results‘
Another candidate attorney said that her colleagues were so upset by the announcement that they had requested to leave the workplace for the rest of the day.
“Why do we have to rewrite this? Can’t they just find the people responsible?” she asked.
“It‘s really affecting all of us. I was hoping to apply for a bursary, but now I won‘t qualify without my results.”
Earlier this month, the answers to a bar exam paper for admission as an advocate were accidentally leaked.
The chairperson of pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar, advocate Noel Graves, had previously confirmed to News24 that model answers for the Motion Court paper had been given to candidates by mistake.
“The chief invigilator discovered that the answers had been included, but they had not yet been handed out to candidates in Johannesburg,” Graves said at the time.
“It seems that they were, in fact, handed out at one of the other bars. The instruction was then given by the National Bar Examination Board (NBEB), which is an independent body, that the examination be postponed.”
*This story has been updated.