1. The Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope (“CLS”) was established by The Incorporated Law Society Act 27 of 1883. This Act was repealed by The Law Society (Cape of Good Hope) Private Act 20 of 1916, which reconstituted the CLS.  This was followed by the Law Society Act 41 of 1975 and thereafter the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979.

 

  1. The second schedule of Act 20 of 1916 set out the regulations of the CLS. At the AGM of the CLS held in Port Elizabeth in November 1934, a new Regulation 58 was agreed to and in due course approved by the Judge President and the Judges of the Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division.  Regulation 58 divided the Province of the Cape of Good Hope into 19 circles.  This included Circle No. 1 which is made up of the Magisterial Divisions of the Cape including the Magistrates Districts of Wynberg, Simonstown and Bellville. Regulation 58(2) provided that three practicing attorneys in each Circle, or such greater number as the Council may determine shall constitute the committee.  Regulation 58(4) provided that the first committee for each of the Circles would be formed by elections concurrently with the elections of CLS Councilors in the year 1935.

 

  1. In the meantime the Association of Law Societies of South Africa was formed in 1933 and first met in 1934.

 

  1. By 1947 the committee of Circle No. 1 consisted of five attorneys, four from Cape Town and one from Durbanville.

 

  1. The CLS President’s Report for 1948 records that quarterly bulletins were circulated by the CLS to Circle Committees, providing sufficient copies of each bulletin to enable the Circle Committees to supply each firm of attorneys in their area with a copy.

 

  1. The 1950 AGM reports that 12 of the 19 Circle Committees nominated no candidates and only two candidates were nominated for each of two other Circles. The Council of the CLS was left to fill those vacancies.

 

  1. By 1960 for the first time one finds Circle No. 1 referred to “Cape Town Side-Bar Association (incorporating Circle No. 1)”. At this stage the number of committee members had increased from 5 to 10. The previous 19 Circles had also been increased to 24 and now included “Bellville Side-Bar Association (incorporating Circle No. 23)”.  It included Goodwood and Parow and consisted of 7 committee members.  In addition, there was the appearance of the “Wynberg-Simonstown Side-Bar Association (Incorporated Circle No. 24)” with 6 committee members.  This Circle included Claremont.

 

  1. By 1971 Circle No. 25 was now referred to as “East London Attorneys Association”. The change had occurred from “Side-Bar Association” to “Attorneys Association”.

 

  1. Circle No. 1 and the Cape Attorneys Associations do not appear to have been the first in the country. The 1930 South African Law Journal (page 45) carried a report of “the Durban Legal Association” having just held its first Annual General Meeting.  It had a total membership of 86 attorneys and 27 seven candidate attorneys at that stage.  Interestingly, they were not referred to as articled clerks.

 

  1. There are currently 24 Circles which are governed by Rule 4 of the Rules of the Cape Law Society under the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979. Rule 4(6) provides that where the whole area of a Circle is served by an Attorneys Association whose constitution has been approved by the Council, the committee of such Attorneys Association, shall, if the Council so decides, constitute the Circle Committee for such Circle or, alternatively, the Council shall suspend the operation of the whole or any part of this Rule as long as it is thinks fit, in relation to that Circle.

 

  1. The first woman who served on the Cape Town Attorneys Association was Anne Boag, from 1989. She also became its first woman President.  The first woman Councilor of the CLS was Elsa van der Merwe from 1992.

 

  1. It appears that there were various localized Side-Bar or Attorneys Associations operating in various areas even before Circles were formalized in terms of Regulation 58 of the Second Schedule of Act 20 of 1916 and that the Cape Town Side-Bar Association Incorporating Circle No. 1 was established at some time between 1951 and 1960. So the Cape Town Attorneys Association is over fifty years old but probably older, and possibly much older.

 

  1. The Cape Town Attorneys Association has had its constitution approved by the Council of the CLS and is accordingly an Attorneys Association.

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