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The OCSLA is a branch within the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and provides a service to:


Legal Opinions

  1. Get a brief from client department (department of the South African government).
  2. Law advisers discuss issues as team who will identify questions and if it has been previously encountered.
  3. Research will be done using the Constitution, relevant legislation, case law and foreign law.
  4. A legal opinion will be drafted.

International Agreements

  1. Department contacts OCSLA during the negotiation process to assist with International agreements.
  2. The following item is used in this scrutiny: Manual on Executive Acts of the President of the Republic of South Africa.
  3. This is done to verify that the agreement is harmonized with the provisions of the Constitution, domestic law, international law, the form and style of Parliamentary.

Extradition & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaties

  1. The Extradition Committee (of which the Chief State Law Adviser and his team are part) are involved in the negotiation process).
  2. The Chief and his team represent South Africa when dealing with foreign States.
  3. The Chief has also chaired the Extradition Committee.

Draft Subordinate Legislation

  1. Scrutiny of draft subordinate legislation occurs to ensure constitutionality, legality, avoidance of possible conflict with other laws and compliance with the acceptable form and style (which includes correct language usage and grammar, clarity of expression (with regards to comprehension), forms and style identical to that of Acts in Parliament and correct numbering).
  2. It also decreases the number of invalid provisions.

Certification of Bills
The certification process involves the following steps:

  1. Policy Document: The target client (Department) generates a draft bill (sometimes with OCSLA assistance).
  2. Stakeholders can then comment on the draft bill when it is published for comment.
  3. The Department incorporates comments into draft bill.
  4. The Department applies for Cabinet approval.
  5. The SLA will then check the following: compliance with the Constitution, Rule of Law, PAJA, PAIA and PEPUDA, and whether Government policy is properly captured in the draft Bill.
  6. Furnish an opinion with regard to tagging of the draft Bill (whether it is a section 74;75;76 or 77 Bill).
  7. SLA will prepare draft bill with its charges and send it to the Department for consideration, and if the Department agrees, SLA will certify the Bill.

A shortened version therefore would be:

  1. Bills are introduced to Parliament.
  2. Discussion and Approval of Bill by Portfolio Committee (NA).
  3. Discussion and Approval NCOP of the Bill.
  4. Presidential Assent is required for publication.
  5. Publication of Bills.

Drafting, scrutinisation and review of municipal bylaws
The process is the same as for Certification of Bills.