The Constitutional Court has ruled that foreign nationals cannot be enrolled as legal practitioners in South Africa unless they are permanent residents in South Africa.
This is in accordance to the Legal Practice Act – which only allows South Africans and permanent citizens to be admitted as lawyers.
It is despite non-citizens being allowed to study law at South African universities.
The ruling would have dire consequences for foreign nationals who hoped to become lawyers in the county because it could take years for permanent citizenship to be granted.
It essentially locks foreign nationals completely out of the legal profession even if they have completed all the necessary steps to be enrolled in the profession.
Director of Asylum Seeker, Refugee and Migrant Coalition, Muchengeti Hwacha, said there was no further redress following the apex court’s ruling, which left qualified non-citizens – who aspired to practice law in South Africa – out in the cold.