The Unit for Applied Law at CPUT will be offering the new Bachelor of Paralegal Studies degree from 2018.
This HEQC-accredited degree is the first of its kind in South Africa and is designed to consolidate the current fragmented approach to paralegal education in the country.This initiative is in a bid to professionalise the paralegal sector and contribute to the transformation of the legal profession. It will also establish comprehensive paralegal education firmly within the domain of higher education, as well as higher education curricula.
The programme takes three years to complete on a full-time basis and five years part-time, in the absence of any credit transfer or recognition of prior learning.
An APS score of 30 points is required for admission to the degree. However, paralegal practitioners who do not meet the above requirements may seek access as per the RPL and age exemption policy of CPUT.
“Whilst preparing students for existing and future paralegal careers aimed at meeting the primary legal needs of individuals and communities, the programme will also assist with the current challenges in the country’s legal education, by providing a gateway to the LLB degree that serves as both a preparatory and screening mechanism for prospective candidates of the private legal profession,” says the Coordinator of the Unit, Advocate Noleen Leach.
The programme was designed in consultation with various local and international legal and paralegal practitioners in the field. Including the Association of Advice Offices of South Africa and the National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices.
The academic programme rests on four core pillars of legal education, namely Private Law, Public Law, Mercantile Law and Formal Law. Formal Law has been integrated into the three pillars, where appropriate, and the work-integrated components woven into the programme.
The programme is not only designed for existing careers in paralegal practice but can be adapted to prepare graduates for future careers in paralegal practice, as determined by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.
These include positions such as conveyancing paralegal, legal administrator, legal assistant, debt counsellor, and reviewer or motor vehicle accident claims handling. Graduates will be prepared to represent clients in various adjudicating forums where paralegals have right of appearance.