Group One was established in 1999. Since then, it has grown to become one of the largest and most well recognized groups at the Johannesburg Bar. The Group includes at least 30 silks evenly located on the various floors comprising the set of chambers in Sandown Village.

Members of the Group provide a wide range of expertise. Although the core expertise of the Group is in the sphere of commercial law, members provide advice and assistance in matters of tax, intellectual property law, administrative law, environmental law, labour and employment law, pension law, family law, competition law, telecommunication law and criminal law, with many members being the leaders in their field of expertise.

Group One strives to engender the highest level of advocacy and ethical standards.

One of its core values, in keeping with its effort to position the Group as a microcosm of the Bar as a whole, is to encourage and promote historically disadvantaged members of the Bar to become leaders in the profession.

It is not surprising therefore that the Group receives a number of applications for membership, and, because of limitations of available space, must choose from among the applicants those who best meet the requirements of the Group, and further its interests from time to time.

The Group has accordingly decided to publish its policy for assessing applications for membership, in order to inform applicants of the guiding criteria that are taken into consideration by the Group in performing this difficult but important task.


Guiding Criteria

The following factors will be taken into account by the Housing Committee in considering applications for membership of the Group:

1. The best interests of the Group from time to time;

2. Transformation imperatives (essentially race and gender);

3. Seniority (not necessarily at the bar, but including prior experience outside the bar, and academic qualifications);

4. Sustainability (meaning the prospect of the applicant building and maintaining a practice);

5. Area of practice/speciality;

6. Excellence in achievement either at a tertiary institution or in the Bar or Board examination;

7. Other considerations (compatibility in the Group; recommendation by mentor etc);

8. Willingness to share chambers or take Scottish chambers until separate chambers become available.

These factors will be weighed by the committee, subject to its absolute discretion, in consultation with the Group Leader, to determine a ranking of applicants for the places available in the Group. The committee will strive to achieve unanimity, but if necessary can make decisions by majority vote. In the event of a deadlock, the Group Leader will have the casting vote.

When it comes to movement within the Group, when space becomes available for whatever reason, preference will be given on the basis of the same criteria, provided that consideration (though not over-riding consideration) will also be given to the seniority of the applicant within the Group