Frequently Asked Questions
What is a paralegal?
As the concept of “paralegal” is a relatively new one in South Africa, the first question that arises is: “What is a paralegal?” Paralegals or Legal Assistants are people who, though not qualified as legal practitioners, are able to function in a legal environment. Paralegal training provides such a person with basic knowledge of the legal principles relevant to the field in which they are working. As a result they are able to work independently and to perform specifically delegated legal tasks.
What are the entrance requirements?
Students must –
- be in possession of a valid matric pass; OR
- have not less than three years’ work experience.
- They must further have the ability to read, write and communicate well in English.
What is the duration of the exams and the percentage needed to pass?
The duration of each exam is 2 hours. A student must obtain 50% for each short certificate.
What if I fail?
You can re-write the exam when the subject is held again, that is at the end of the following term. However, the normal examination fees for the re-examination will be payable.
What are the career opportunities after I complete my paralegal studies?
Apart from the obvious possibility of working independently for one’s own account in a paralegal practice, numerous employment opportunities exist for Paralegals. The career section of the local newspapers will usually show that the marketplace is looking for the services of Paralegals in many areas. The skills of a Paralegal are an asset in any legal environment, in both the public and private sector. Paralegals can function as legal assistants to:
- legal practitioners (attorneys, conveyancers, advocates)
- judges, magistrates, prosecutors and state attorneys
- banks and corporations
- estate agents and property managers
- insurance companies
- community based law clinics, community centres and advice offices
- consultants (legal advisers, tax advisers & property managers)
- public/civil service departments (administration at local, provincial & national level)
What characteristics are required to be a successful Paralegal?
To be successful, the personal characteristics which a Paralegal should combine with substantive legal knowledge are:
- resourceful and independent personality
- honesty and integrity
- the ability to communicate effectively
Our leading role regarding paralegal training in South Africa.
The Standards Governing Body for Legal Education and Training with the South African Qualifications Authority was briefed to review, develop and generate qualifications and standards in the legal and education and training sphere. Dr Günter Pabst, Chief-Principal of the SA School of Paralegal Studies, was appointed as member of the Standards Governing Body for Legal Education and Training with SAQA to assist in this process. It confirms our leading role regarding paralegal training in South Africa, and our commitment and ability in the setting of standards in this field.