Lawyers can now apply for Covid-19 relief fund, says Legal Practice Council

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The window period for applications for financial assistance to the scheme is between 18 August and 18 September 2020.

The Legal Practice Council (LPC) is currently taking applications from legal practitioners in need of financial assistance, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

LPC spokesperson Sthembiso Mnisi confirmed to News24 on Monday that it has already received a number of applications.

On 14 August, the LPC announced the establishment of the “benevolent scheme” which was designed as an intervention to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the legal profession.

Mnisi said the scheme will provide once-off assistance of R15 million to eligible legal practitioners in the form of a R5 000 grant per applicant.

The window period for applications for financial assistance to the scheme is between 18 August and 18 September 2020.

Mnisi said applications received after 17:00 on 18 September 2020 will not be considered.

“Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis. Once the full R15 million has been disbursed to eligible applicants, no further applications will be processed,” he said.

The LPC chairperson Kathleen Matolo-Dlepu said the council acknowledged that the legal profession is experiencing difficulties during this time.

“We are hoping that this limited support will assist practitioners who have been severely affected by this pandemic. Our profession has a number of practitioners who have limited access to funding from commercial institutions,” she said.

“We urge those who have not been financially affected by the pandemic and who are able to donate to the Benevolent Scheme in support of fellow legal practitioners, to do so by contacting the Legal Practice Council.”

Categories of legal practitioners eligible to apply for the Benevolent Scheme include the following:

• Practising legal practitioners in good standing with the LPC; or

• A registered candidate attorney or pupil, as defined in the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014;

• Must not be subject to an application for suspension or striking from the roll;

• Must have a net income of less that R30 000 per month.

Applicants can download the application form here https://lpc.org.za/

Application forms and supporting documentation should be sent by email to the administrators of the Benevolent Scheme on the following case sensitive email address: LPCBScheme@absa.africa and inquiries about the fund can be emailed to info@lpc.org.za.

“Applications will be considered in the strictest confidence and are subject to the completion of all the relevant documents, submission of all the required supporting documents, and meeting of the set qualifying criteria.

“All applications received before the closing date… will be processed as soon as reasonably possible. The decision of the LPC on any application is final,” Mnisi said.

He said Absa Western Cape had agreed to administer the scheme on behalf the LPC on a complimentary basis.

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