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Review slams South Africa’s undergraduate law degrees

Not one of South Africa’s bachelor of law (LLB) programmes was found satisfactory in a review by the country’s Council of Higher Education and published on 12 April.

The country’s government shortened the LLB degree to four years in 1998 to promote access to the legal profession by previously disadvantaged students. This however backfired as universities complained that only a quarter of the students completed on time, and law firms complaining of under-prepared graduates.

Many parties have called for the LLB to be made into a postgraduate degree, to be taken by students after they completed a three-year bachelor degree with law as a major. South Africans must have a LLB to practice as an attorney, however to practice as an advocate graduates must undergo a pupilage and pass a Bar exam.

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