The office of the legal services ombud (Olso) will provide a platform for the public to lay complaints and report unethical behaviour against legal practitioners.
The Olso is headed by retired judge Justice Siraj Desai, who was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Olso aims to promote an accountable legal profession in SA, justice minister Ronald Lamola said in a statement on its official launch on Thursday.
“It will achieve this by safeguarding the constitution and the rule of law, protecting and promoting the public interest in relation to the rendering of legal services, ensuring fair, efficient and effective investigation of alleged misconduct by legal practitioners, promoting high standards of integrity in the legal profession and upholding the independence of the legal profession.”
The ombud will provide oversight of attorneys and advocates, candidate attorneys, candidate legal practitioners and those undergoing pupillage.
The office will not hear cases involving judges, magistrates or prosecutors as these are already handled by other entities including the Judicial Services Commission, Magistrates Commission and National Prosecuting Authority.