The Law Society (LSSA) has noted some concerns that the conveyancing landscape remains untransformed and that gatekeeping is an issue. It was commenting, in a media release, on a conveyancing task team’s review – set up by the LSSA’s House of Constituents – of the poor pass rate of the conveyancing admission examinations.

The position of the LSSA is that:

  • The format of the examination needs to change, so that it is written on two separate days (with at least a few days between the papers), in contrast to the current format where both papers are written on one day.
  • The order of the two papers needs to change, so that the theory paper is written first.
  • Candidates should retain credit for a period of five years for the paper that they have passed.
  • Past examination papers and model answers will be made freely available to candidates via the LSSA website.
  • The pool of examiners must be increased and the qualification requirement to conduct the assessments should be reduced from seven years’ experience.
  • Examinations should be written in English only.

Since most attorneys’ firms do not deal with conveyancing matters, there is a lack of exposure to the field. The LSSA is working on urgently introducing a mentorship programme. A pilot project will be launched as soon as possible and the LSSA hopes to obtain the buy-in of potential mentors and mentees.

LSSA president, Mvuzo Notyesi said: ‘We are hopeful that these resolutions will be adopted by the Legal Practice Council and that most, if not all, the interventions will be in place for the September 2019 exam sitting. The low pass rate of the conveyancing examination is of great concern and no stone will be left unturned to alleviate the problem, without reducing the examination standards.’