IFP MP Mario GR Oriani-Ambrosini has been conducting a campaign to
reduce the huge cost of legal services and the cost of litigation in
South Africa, which have turned justice in civil matters as a
privilege for the rich. One of his multi-faceted proposals to reform
the judiciary is the abolition of the split bar, which is obsolete
practice rooted in Medieval traditions maintained only in countries
once under British colonization.
In meeting the Competition Commission as it appeared before the
Committee on Trade and Industry Oriani-Ambrosini asked for the
insertion of a pungent question in the list, which his Committee has
requested the Competition Commission to answer in writing.
"Why has the Commission not yet outlawed the medieval guild known as
the Bar Association which, inter alia, prevents its members from
reducing the prices of their services rendered to consumers once an
invoice has been issued unless the guild itself agrees to it; which is
a per se horizontal restraint of trade; sets uniform pricing for such
services; which is a per se horizontal restraint of trade; prohibits
its members from meeting directly with the real consumers of their
services without the interposition of a member of the other guild of
attorneys; which is a per se vertical restraint of trade; and
otherwise restrains the trade and commerce of the service provided to
consumers by its members or reduces the competition among its members?"
It is obvious that these restraints of trade make the cost of legal
services much higher for the consumer and among the highest in the