Scrap 4 year LLB degree - Ngoepe

2014-04-19 11:59

Johannesburg - Retired Transvaal Judge Bernard Ngoepe has called on South African universities to scrap the four-year LLB degree, The Saturday Star reported.

"In the olden days, you would not even be allowed to enrol for an LLB without a junior degree," Ngoepe told the newspaper.

He said the undergraduate LLB was a "glorified" BProc - the previously phased out Baccalaureus Procurationis course completed in order to qualify as an attorney in South Africa.

"They took what was a BProc degree, added one or two more courses and called it an LLB," said Ngoepe.

He was responding to Wits University's announcement this week that it was discontinuing its undergraduate Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) and replacing it with a LLB postgraduate programme.

"In meetings with law firms and members of the Bar, one assessment was uniformly received - the four-year undergraduate LLB does not adequately prepare students for the legal profession," university spokesperson Buhle Zuma said in a press statement at the time.

Ngoepe said that the BProc degree should have been retained at universities as an entry point into the profession and students could then study further for an LLB degree.

  • Steven Van Zyl - 2014-04-19 12:13

    Brilliant. Thanks Judge.

      Themba Maseko - 2014-04-19 18:13

      Thanks Judge, but it is important to get comments from other judges as well as from the academia before a final decision is made

      MHH - 2014-04-20 10:32

      Bernard Ngoepe is so right. You had to get a B.Proc or B.Iuris and then go on two years to a Bachelor of Laws". These half-baked guys (and girls) aren't even qualified to wash a junior partners car when they come out. You have to see these clowns at the bar.

      Pietse Genade - 2014-04-21 01:53

      So you reckon doing five extra subjects at university (if you have a B Proc) to obtain LLB will make you a better attorney or advocate? Any ape can do that. B Iurus was a three year degree so I would agree in that case but then B Iurus was never entry to the attorney or advocate profession anyway. I don't know enough of the standard of the new LLB-degree though to make a comment on how it goes nowadays. What I will say is, practical experience is much more important. Students coming out of university have the basic building blocks but have no clue how to apply it in practice.

  • Thingahangwi Nengovhela - 2014-04-19 12:18

    I see it as part of downgrading the education standard, though they are not aware of it

      Maya Rider - 2014-04-20 11:01

      no brother: the time of hand outs and the sense of entitlement must stop. Ppl need to earn their place in the world.

  • Abner Mophethe - 2014-04-19 12:35

    the problem with this country is that we know too much

      Victor Cover Mkhaliphi - 2014-04-19 12:42

      @Abner,what an empty statement!!! What are saying man?

      Venus Flytrap - 2014-04-19 13:00

      I think, Abner, the problem with this country is not that we know too much, but that we think we know too much.

      Victor Cover Mkhaliphi - 2014-04-19 13:04

      @Abner,what an empty statement!!! What are saying man?

      Peter William - 2014-04-19 13:06

      Abner is being sarcastic, should be thumbs up guys. Where's your sense of humour

      Attie Stone - 2014-04-19 17:38

      The problem with the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent have doubts......

      Sibusiso Khanyase - 2014-04-22 13:44


  • Jan Grimbeek - 2014-04-19 12:36

    Hey Ngoepe, old blade the minister of "HIGHER EDUCATION" will crucify you for this and call you anti revolutionary, even treason will be added to your name by some other highly qualified mp's and ministers if not all of them.

  • Odwa Mvimbi - 2014-04-19 13:13

    Quantity vs quality, the former seems to be the order of the day under the the ANC administration..

  • Pietse Genade - 2014-04-19 13:38

    The old LLB degree had five more subjects than B Proc. Not much of a difference anyway. Besides you need to do articles (attorney) and write the admission exams. All law graduates should attend the law school (for attorneys) for one year after their studies and do their articles. It's not the studies that are the problem, it's the practical experience. Extend this period.

      Champ Mpfanisto Pfanism - 2014-04-19 15:40

      Well said my learned friend

      Phineas Letsoalo - 2014-05-11 00:47

      dat is a solid relevant submission.

  • Nare Buffalo - 2014-04-19 14:05

    Going back to Apartheid system,

      Donovan Van Senus - 2014-04-19 15:49

      Hey Nare go back to school you idiot

  • Stephen van der Bank - 2014-04-19 14:07

    Always knew my B.Proc was worth more....

  • Maru Sebata - 2014-04-19 14:07

    Excellent idea! Education is immensely commercialised 2 th extend tht NFSAS is no longer coping! Judge Ngoepe is correct! SA universities hv restructured (modularized) book chapters in2 multiples of full years courses tht pinned desperate young SA 4 more years @ tertiary institutions! There were rumours LLB shd be 6 years which is rubbish! Our current judicial lineup did not spend 6 years @ univrsties! Entry school level ws also switched frm 5 to 7 & there r suggestion 2 extend pre university school prd from twelve (12) to 15 years! We cannot hv a country tht is using education system to delay development of its citizen!

  • Kevin Moxham - 2014-04-19 15:32

    more and more people are saying the past university degree's and the education standards were infact very good - infact recognised iniversally - go back to those systems to get SA back on to the world map as a leading country and not a basket case..!!

      Vuyo Ntsinde - 2014-04-20 08:48

      The quality of graduates is getting worse all over the world and it is not unique to SA.

  • Del Pearson - 2014-04-19 15:41

    Now here is a man with sense.

  • khumasauka - 2014-04-19 16:09

    It makes sense...

  • Emilia Pabian - 2014-04-19 16:52

    Adding a couple more theory based subjects which extend the degree is not going to change anything. It's the practical experience that's the problem. CAs say they don't use any of the work they had to memorise during varsity but lack the practical skills when entering the workplace.

  • Siyaxolisa Matomela - 2014-04-19 16:57

    Varsity education was the best during the Apartheid era, there was no need to change it jst improve on it as there are new discoveries made. Not all the things in Apartheid were bad, what the ANC needed to do was jst to make that education availble for blacks not change it. Think of the many things that were invented n achieved at that tym.

  • Mfundo Piti - 2014-04-19 17:07

    I do agree with the sentiment of extending schooling years from 12 yrs to 13 yrs, the 13th year being what is referred to as A-levels. This would assist a lot in reducing first year failure rate at Universities.

      Mkulu Mkulu - 2014-04-20 15:46

      Not too many would pass unless that was also downgraded

  • stephan.stone - 2014-04-19 18:12

    Strongly agree!

  • Chris Du Toit - 2014-04-19 20:25

    Isn't the 2 years article suppose to fill the gap?

  • Matimba Machobani - 2014-04-19 21:09

    Ngoepe mst jst sit down,,,jst coz wits is 1 of the Top Universities doesn't mean dat other universities mst do wat he suggest,,,,Mxm Scarp Ngoepe Qualification,this doesn't mean dat other upcoming LLB undergraduates wil b POOR-PERformers like da "LAWS" who already have "Qualifications",,#PissedOff

      Jonathan Woods - 2014-04-19 21:23

      Matimba if your are any example of the current crop of LLB students, then even extending the course to 10 years would not help. I would suggest to go all the way back and start at grade R again, because the system has failed you. or you have failed the system. It really doesn't matter as you are both just as bad!

  • Vuyolwetu Lalendle - 2014-04-19 21:43

    "LLB should be scraped out", and replaced by what? what value will the replacement degree add? I honestly feel that as a Country we are going around in circles with our education. We scrap things, replace them with new things and go back to the same things we scraped! where are we going with our education as a country?

  • Olivia Mpho Chai - 2014-04-19 21:52

    LLB postgraduate??? This will only make sense if the salaries paid by most of departments met such standard of postgraduates,because the LLB graduates's salaries are a disgrace to this profession even matriculants are paid much better.

  • Simon Mosito - 2014-04-19 22:35

    Judge Ngoepe is hundred percent correct....

  • Timothy Tanzer - 2014-04-19 23:10

    What does he know... 4 year llb is not easy at all... Tool. Hence why very few people actually do it.

      Praetor Peregrinus - 2014-04-21 13:25

      I agree Hendrik.

  • smaabe - 2014-04-19 23:15

    Very little facts raised by the article and therefore conclusion can't be drawn from this. Further information about LLB is required.

  • smaabe - 2014-04-19 23:17

    If you studied aiming to earn big, you lied to your damn self. Big earners are normally difference makers. Are you or not?

  • Wandile Mazibuko - 2014-04-20 00:37

    Truth of the matter is, Mr Ngoepe is somehow correct. Am not gonna talk about the legal aid article servers who knows nothing even after finishing their articles.

      Wandile Mazibuko - 2014-04-21 07:45

      You'll never see a clever Attorney because you not so clever yourself. Am exposing the system.

      Wandile Mazibuko - 2014-04-21 07:45

      You'll never see a clever Attorney because you not so clever yourself. Am exposing the system.

  • Wandile Mazibuko - 2014-04-20 00:44

    I had to work thrice hard to get where I am today, am talking after having served my articles with a private law firm. I have friends who did their articles with the legal aid board but they can't face the real world because they have little knowledge of the lawyers world.

  • Maru Sebata - 2014-04-20 07:18

    4 yrs + articles + board exam r gud enough! Not 5 or 6 years plus articles !

  • Paddy Nolan - 2014-04-20 08:26

    Make it a 30% pass too. Might as well.

  • Belle Minx - 2014-04-20 10:31

    Taking away the shake and bake system, I like. Got scared when I got accepted for law at the then UND when I was in Gr11. Then I saw the 'DOM WATS' in my grade also getting accepted. So I opted for geology instead. If the selection process was much stricter or difficult to get in, I would have definitely taken law as a career opportunity.

  • Butch van Blerk - 2014-04-20 11:34

    Agree with Steven - brilliant and brains - up the standards not down like the government wishes every day - 20 years has gone - honeymoon is over - everyone knows reality kicks in now - except our above the law politicians

  • Butch van Blerk - 2014-04-20 11:36

    Abner you right - people are informed and indeed know!

  • Itumeleng Tshatiwa - 2014-04-20 12:20

    The retired judge must shut up and enjoy his pension!

  • Alan Robertson - 2014-04-20 12:47

    Let us respect this retired judges wisdom and experience. ..

  • Dennis van Aarde - 2014-04-20 20:05

    You are right Vuyo Ntsinde years of bad /poor schooling is the problem

  • Armando Guerra - 2014-04-20 20:33

    why did you remove my innocent comment,? is it wrong to see things and reason differently?

  • sxp - 2014-04-21 10:53

    Yip, he is right. Also ensure these students are taught a lot more about common law, the only law that actually sees truth and living breathing men and women.

  • Monica Mazibukwana - 2014-04-21 11:46

    Considering that some Jugdes are only having b juris but they are on the bench, I do'nt think it matters to me. Is this proposal not one of the changes in the Legal practise bill. Another issue thst need to be dealt with is the over supply of attorneys in the country. In my view the whole education system in SA must be reviewed but Judge Ngoepe can only speak about law not other fields.

  • Billy Banter - 2014-04-21 12:37

    "...the four-year undergraduate LLB does not adequately prepare students for the legal profession" Tell that to eminent (or any) UK solicitors, barristers, judges! The UK LLB is 3 years of academic study. Universities offer academic knowledge, they teach law students legal theory, legal principles, legal reasoning. Simply making the LLB degree longer will not assist candidates unsuitable from the start, in applying their academic knowledge in the professional environment. The profession itself must prepare graduates for the profession, not expect someone else to do so. Universities do not and should not exist to be dictated to by professional bodies which of necessity have a narrower outlook than an academic body. But for their part, academic institutions might employ a more rigorous selection process of prospective students.

  • Zain Domingo - 2014-04-22 08:21

    It is not the degree or lack of practicals but the attitude of the students, Mediocre input will produce average legal professionals... It is the dedication that counts with a hunger for knowledge and learning not to pass but to learn... Anyone can pass but to learn and be hungry for knowledge is different.

  • Annade Theart - 2014-04-22 14:57

    The 4 year LLB includes all the subjects required for the 2 year post grad LLB and students for both types of LLB sit for the same papers during the exams - so how is scrapping the 4 year LLB going to prepare students better? If they want to add 5 more subjects to the '4 year LLB programme' - go ahead. However, I believe the true cause lies elsewhere - please review the language skills of students entering the Law programme - pathetic - to say the least. They are often answering exam questions in SMS-language. They therefore lack the tool of the trade - ie language. I do not believe a few more subjects will resolve that problem - very unlikely.

  • Phineas Letsoalo - 2014-05-11 00:45

    this will close d doors for self-sustained students,,paying for postgraduates degree is near impossible if u r not sponsored..d fifth year can b spent on practicals since theory alone in almost all fields does not guarantee u success in practice.

  • Gawie Botha - 2014-05-13 09:00

    Uiteindelik iemand wat nie skroom,om n graaf n graaf te noem,en te erken die die klug van die sogenaamde gegradueerdes!

  • Peter Thomo Molatjane - 2014-07-15 22:26

    thanks god & the Judge. i was really wondering what the hell is happening now

  • Ingrid Nadin Ndlovu - 2014-08-20 13:56

    finally someone says it.

  • Ingrid Nadin Ndlovu - 2014-08-20 13:56

    finally someone says it.

  • Philani Stan Mbambo - 2014-08-22 03:10

    Fair enough judge, but how is adding more theory/ a few more modules going to help the situation? I studied a four year LLB degree where we were taught modules like civil procedure for only 3months alongside other 6 modules, barely knew anything when I started articles. Lets take out all these useless time waisting modules like Jurisprudece, Gender and the Law, Law of Persons(when you have already studied Family Law)and improve quality of the most relevant modules to the proffession.

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