Tribunal dismisses advocate’s racism complaint

The Competition Tribunal has dismissed complaints of racism and anticompetitive practices against senior counsel and law firms in the lucrative field of shipping law.

The tribunal has, however, expressed concern about evidence which shows that – up until the complaint was lodged – no African advocate had ever been briefed in shipping law at the Cape Bar.

The tribunal today released the finding which dismissed a complaint by Cape Bar Advocate Simba Chitando about alleged racist and anticompetitive practices in the field of shipping law.

Read: Advocate vs advocates: ‘I just want to be rich’

The judgment, penned by Andiswa Ndoni, said it was “self-evident” that skewed briefing patterns needed to be addressed but this was unfortunately “not an issue that can be remedied through the (Competition Act)”.

The three members of the tribunal further noted that Chitando “stands a better chance in the Equality Court which has jurisdiction over such issues (of social exclusion)”.

The tribunal found that Chitando had failed to prove that there was a “long-standing understanding” between senior advocates Michael Wragge, Michael Fitzgerald and Russel MacWilliams to exclude him from getting briefs.

He also failed to prove that there was such an agreement between law firms Shepstone Wylie and Norton Rose which was designed to ensure exclusive briefings.

Chitando is studying the judgment to decide on his next steps.

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