100 Years of Women in Legal Practice

Published Date: May 3, 2023

The 10th of April 2023 marked 100 years since the Woman Legal Practitioners Act 7 of 1923 was promulgated.

The Act contained a single section, which read: “Women shall be entitled to be admitted to practice and to be enrolled as advocates, attorneys, notaries public or conveyancers in any province of the Union, subject to the same terms and conditions as apply to men…”.

The promulgation of this act was prompted by the decisions handed down in Incorporates Law Society v Wookey 1912 AD 623 and Schlesin vs Incorporates Law Society 1909 TS 363, which denied the two female applicants’ admission to the legal profession on the basis of gender and patriarchal notions that women were not persons qualified to practice law.

On 25 April 2023, Adams & Adams were present during the historical commemorative sitting of the Pretoria High Court during which these decisions were overturned, and the Legal Practice Council was instructed to enroll both Wookey and Schlesin posthumously, in their honour, as legal practitioners of the Republic of South Africa.

A major focus of the proceedings was that ,while the rise of women in the legal profession over the years is something to be celebrated and remembered, there are still a multitude of challenges facing women practitioners and hopefuls today which can only be overcome from within the legal profession. The sitting was, therefore, a call for further revolution in our noble profession.  The timing of this commemorative sitting also tied in perfectly with the theme for World IP Day 2023, being Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity.

As a firm, Adams & Adams is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within the workplace and celebrating women in the legal profession, and in IP, and the pivotal role that they play.

Here’s to 100 years of women in practice and to infinitely more!

#100more #countmein @100more @Office of the Chief Justice

Pictured below are images taken by The South African Judiciary

Nontando Tusi
​Associate | Attorney

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