The learning division of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), Legal Education and Development (Lead), introduced new courses in insolvency, tax and business rescue this year. Lead has also increased its intake of students across the board to more than 10 000.
“The business rescue course is a joint initiative between the LSSA and the University of South Africa. It will be presented as an advanced certificate course. Workshops will be held in Durban, Cape Town and Gauteng.
“The process of accredit- ation for business rescue practitioners by the Depart-ment of Trade and Industry is still under way and accredit- ation will not be automatic or guaranteed. Nonetheless, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission regards the completion of a relevant training course and experience in business rescue as important factors when considering an application for registration,” says Lead director Nic Swart.
Law firm Werksmans Attorneys explains on its website that the purpose of business rescue is to maximise the likelihood of a company continuing to operate on a solvent basis. The key to business rescue is the success- ful development and implementation, if approved by creditors, of a business rescue plan to rescue the company by restructuring its affairs, business, property, debt, other liabilities and equity.
The website further states that the implementation of a business rescue plan should result in a better return for the company’s creditors or shareholders than that of immediate liquidation.
The Lead/University of South Africa course is designed for candidates to explore the opportunities of business rescue as a possible new area of work. The course will equip candidates with comprehensive knowledge on the practical application of business rescue proceedings in terms of Chapter 6 of the Companies Act, 2008.
The course will be offered over six months, with the admission requirements being either a Bachelor of Laws degree or any other relevant bachelor’s degree.
After completing the course, candidates will be able to explain the concept and role of business rescue and, in detail, the relationship between corporate governance and business rescue; draw up and implement turnaround strategies for companies in distress; and provide advice to attorneys, accountants and other pro-fessionals appointed as business rescue practitioners.
Meanwhile, Lead’s increased intake of students has sub- sequently led to additional learning activities being offered for law-firm support staff, candidate attorneys and legal practitioners.
Swart mentions that, because of the LSSA’s under- standing of the needs of a modern-day law practice, several methods to access high-quality learning activities are being offered to legal practitioners and law-firm support staff.
“Most of the courses that we offer are not entirely new, but what we have done is to change the format in which they are available to the students. Sometimes you find that, if the course is longer than six months, it does not have the kind of impact we expect. You find that some people prefer to do a course in five days and it proves to be more effective,” he adds.
Swart adds that the LSSA offers mandatory practical legal training and legal practice management training. “The challenge remains to offer new and relevant training opportunities,” he says.