Section 41 of the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979 requires a practitioner to be in possession of a Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) in order to practice on his or her own account or in partnership. The section further states that should a practitioner practice or act in contravention of the requirement, the practitioner shall not be entitled to any fee, reward or disbursement in respect of anything done by him or her while so practising or acting. FFCs are issued by the Attorneys Fidelity Fund (AFF) through its appointed agencies, namely, the four statutory law societies. The validity period for each issued FFC is a year, from January to December of that year, for example, from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. Practitioners are able to apply for their FFCs for the following year from 1 October of the year preceding the year for which the FFC is required.
Practitioners are therefore urged to apply for their 2017 FFCs on time to avoid the rush and frustration should they find themselves not eligible to receive their certificates for whatever reason. This will allow them time to attend to whatever requires attention. Practitioners are further urged to refrain from practising without a valid FFC as they are in breach of the requirements of legislation when they do so.
The AFF's financial forensic unit explains how to apply.