New Justice & Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola believes banks and other JSE-listed companies should employ black lawyers to represent them in commercial matters, as transformation of the legal profession cannot only be left in the hands of the state.

In an interview with Business Day, Lamola reportedly said commercial law should be transformed more aggressively and this needs to start with companies and banks. Lamola said banks do not use black lawyers sufficiently and they should do so, given the amount of commercial legal work they procure.

‘They (the banks) must bring young black women and men into their space, and disabled people. Let’s see them do it. The listed companies in the JSE must also play that role,’ Lamola said.

The Minister said one of the challenges that resulted in the courts not dealing with the crux of commercial matters was that most commercial contracts included an arbitration clause, which resulted in most cases not making their way to the courts.

‘So in arbitration you can choose who you want, so it is an exclusive terrain of the white old men’s club where they bring each other to these arbitrations,’ Lamola said.

He added it denied courts the opportunity to develop commercial jurisprudence.

‘On the (one) hand we need arbitration, we need mediation so that it does not clog up our courts, but on the other hand we also need our courts to develop jurisprudence in this space so that we are able to have certainty in the resolution of complex commercial issues,’ Lamola said.

Full Business Day report