SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

National Certificate: Family Law Practice 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
50265  National Certificate: Family Law Practice 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Legal Education and Training 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
SAS SETA - Safety and Security SETA  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
National Certificate  Field 08 - Law, Military Science and Security  Justice in Society 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  120  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:

This qualification is aimed at persons who work or intend to work in the family law section of lower courts in South Africa, and who seek recognition for essential skills in court-based family law practice. The purpose of the qualification is to confer the qualifying learner with a basic knowledge and understanding of the family law system and legislation in South Africa, their application and social context, as well as the skills and competencies needed to deliver family-law related services to the public in the court environment.

The qualification will confer accredited status to persons who provide legal assistance and support to members of the public in the family law-related court environment. This qualification is designed to be flexible and accessible so that recipients of this qualification know about and will be able to conduct the essential operations of court-based family law service delivery.

Qualifying learners will be able to:
  • Apply fundamental knowledge and understanding of family law to specific situations within the South African legal context.
  • Communicate with role-players in the family law system and with members of the public seeking family law-related services in the court environment.
  • Guide and refer members of the public with family law-related problems.
  • Assist in solving problems in a court-based family law context by working in a team and individually.
  • Provide administrative and organisational support in the family court environment.
  • Exercise ethical conduct, values and professionalism when dealing with all role-players and members of the public.

    Practitioners will carry out their role within the context of South African courts that provide family law services to the public, at a lower court level.

    This qualification equips learners to make a meaningful contribution to South Africa's constitutional democracy by enhancing the quality of legal services provided by the state, improving access to justice and contributing to the resolution of family disputes.

    Rationale:

    Court-based family law practice refers to a combination of tasks and responsibilities relating to maintenance, domestic violence, divorce and children's court matters, carried out by staff employed as clerks and administrators in South African courts. Due to the duties imposed on the state by family law-related legislation, these court staff are obligated to provide both administrative and legal assistance and support to the public, the court itself and other role-players in the family law system. As such, the nature of their occupation differs considerably from that of legal assistants and/or paralegals working in the private sector or non-governmental advice office sector. Court-based family law service providers play a pivotal role in the state family law system and the resolution of family law disputes in South Africa, but thus far have seldom enjoyed the benefit of formal legal training. This qualification will equip them with the legal knowledge, communication and administrative skills needed to work with the range of family law-related matters in the court environment.

    This will result in qualified and competent family law service providers in South African courts, offering more effective and informed advice and assistance to people with family law problems. This in turn will contribute to the quicker and more efficient processing of family law matters through the court system, thereby reducing court backlogs and expediting rapid and durable solutions for South African families in crisis.

    This qualification intends to equip the learner with the necessary life skills and has an integrated approach to critical cross-field outcomes. This certificate establishes minimum standards and contributes to quality service provision, as well as ethical and professional standards.

    Court-based family law service provision is regulated by domestic legislation and governmental policy, as well as by international treaties. These governing instruments have a major influence on the construct of this qualification. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    It is assumed that learners enrolling for this qualification will have acquired all the outcomes in the following learning areas:
  • Communication skills at NQF level 4.
  • Mathematical literacy skills at NQF level 4.
  • Computing skills at NQF level 3.

    A Further Education and Training Certificate at NQF Level 4.

    Recognition of prior learning:

    This qualification can be achieved wholly or in part through recognition of prior learning, which where necessary, must be contextualised in terms of fundamental law and the requisite administrative support skills.

    Evidence can be presented in a variety of forms, including international or previous local qualifications, reports, testimonials mentioning functions performed, work records, portfolios, videos of practice and performance records.

    All such evidence should be judged according to the general principles of assessment described in the notes to assessors. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    Fundamental:
  • Learners must achieve all 7 fundamental unit standards which total a value of 39 credits as listed.

    Core:
  • Learners must achieve all 10 core unit standards which total a value of 57 credits as listed.

    Elective:
  • Learners must achieve at least 24 credits of their choice from any of the available 6 elective unit standards which total 42 credits as listed. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Apply fundamental knowledge and understanding of family law to specific situations within the South African legal context.
    2. Communicate with role-players in the family law system and with members of the public seeking family law-related services in the court environment.
    3. Guide and refer members of the public with family law-related problems.
    4. Assist in solving problems in a court-based family law context by working in a team and individually.
    5. Provide administrative and organisational support in the family court environment.
    6. Exercise ethical conduct, values and professionalism when dealing with all role-players and members of the public.

    Critical cross- field outcomes:

    This qualification addresses the following critical cross-field outcomes, as detailed in the unit standards:
  • Identify and solve family law-related problems in which responses display that responsible decisions, using critical thinking, have been made.
  • Work effectively with others in the family court environment as a member of a team delivering family law-related services to the public.
  • Organise and manage the learner and the learner's activities relating to family law service delivery responsibly and effectively.
  • Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information relating to family law disputes in the lower court context.
  • Communicate effectively with other family law service providers and members of the public with family law disputes, using visual, mathematical, and language skills in the modes of written and oral presentation.
  • Use technology effectively and responsibly in the processing of family law matters.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving in the family court context does not exist in isolation.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of their role in participating as responsible citizens and service providers in the justice system and legal community.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of their role in displaying sensitivity to diversity in the family court environment. 

  • ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    1.
  • Facts relating to a family law problem are analysed in terms of a given case study.
  • Family disputes are examined in relation to the provisions of governing legislation.
  • Options to resolve family disputes are evaluated in terms of the South African Family Law context.
  • Alternative service providers are selected in relation to problems that fall outside court-based family law.

    2.
  • Legal provisions are communicated to family law role-players and court visitors seeking assistance.
  • Court procedures are communicated to family law role-players and court visitors seeking assistance.
  • Legal or paralegal solutions are communicated to court visitors seeking assistance within the context of South African law.
    > Range: Family law-related courts refer to maintenance, domestic violence, divorce and children's courts.

    3.
  • Family law problems are analysed and solutions are distinguished in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Meetings with court visitors seeking assistance are managed in order to facilitate the meeting and its outcomes.
  • Additional support services are selected for court visitors seeking assistance.
    > Range:Support services include referral to appropriate practitioners with relevant follow-up.

    4.
  • Sources of South African family law and other selected subjects or laws are analysed in terms of legal principles.
  • Family law disputes are resolved in co-operation with other role-players according to legal principles and court procedures.

    5.
  • Legal proceedings in family law matters are initiated in accordance with governing legislation and court rules.
  • Affidavits in family law matters are formulated and commissioned in accordance with legal principles and court rules.
  • Family law matters are processed in accordance with court rules and governing legislation.
  • Administrative systems for family law matters are managed in accordance with court policies and procedures.

    6.
  • The concept of accountability is analysed in the context of a given case study.
  • Court visitors seeking assistance are treated with confidentiality, dignity and respect.
  • Ethical and professional principles for conduct in the family court environment are examined in the context of family law matters.

    Integrated assessment:

    Applied competence (practical, foundational and reflexive competencies with regard to legal, communication and administrative knowledge and skills) of this qualification will be achieved if a candidate can integrate the various unit standard outcomes to be able to perform as a court-based family law practitioner in any South African court providing family law services.

    Ongoing formative assessment is required so that learners are given feedback on their progress in the achievement of specific learning outcomes. Summative assessment is concerned with the judgement of the learning in relation to the exit level outcomes of the qualification, which tests the learner's ability to integrate legal, communication and administrative knowledge and skills and service delivery values. The assessment methods must include observation (e.g. during interaction with court visitors), product evaluation (e.g. completed forms and affidavits) and questioning (oral and/or written) to provide sufficient opportunity to the learner to demonstrate applied competence.

    Integrated assessment at the level of this qualification provides an opportunity for learners to show they are able to integrate concepts, ideas, skills, values and actions across unit standards to achieve competence that is grounded in and coherent in relation to the purpose of the qualification. When providing information and assistance to a court visitor, the court-based family law practitioner must understand and display legal and non-legal knowledge relevant to the visitor's problem; use communication skills; maintain a database of suitable referral organisations and address the case with professional and ethical conduct. An assessment of the services provided to court visitors through simulation exercises would examine competence across the range of unit standards.

    Integrated assessment must judge not only the quality of the observable performance but also the thinking and understanding that underpins it. Assessment tools must also encourage learners to give an account of the thinking and decision-making that forms the basis for their demonstrated performance. An integrated mix of task-orientated and theoretical assessment tools should be used with the ultimate focus being on the assessment of applied competence.

    Assessors must use a range of tools to test demonstrated competence in practical situations (e.g. simulations of service delivery to court visitors with divorce, maintenance, domestic violence and children's court matters) as well as oral or written examination (on application of fundamental legal knowledge), that integrates the assessment of all specific outcomes for all the unit standards.

    Assessment should ensure that all specific outcomes, embedded knowledge and critical cross-field outcomes are evaluated. The assessment of the critical cross-field outcomes should be integrated with the assessment of specific outcomes and embedded knowledge. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    Due to the very specific nature of the occupation of court-based family law practitioners in South African courts and the particular range of country-specific legislation governing service delivery, no qualification exactly similar to this currently exists in another country. The nature of the family law system differs substantially from country to country. Very few countries have a family court system where staff members of the court are obligated to provide legal information and assistance with form completion to members of the public. As these competencies and the associated legal knowledge form the basis of this qualification, it stands to reason that few other countries require a qualification similar to this one.

    The countries that have most in common with the South African family law system are generally those which have adopted the judicial mechanism of family courts for the provision of family law services to the public. Those most similar to the South African family law system are found in Singapore, Australia and Canada (Ontario Province).

    Ontario, Canada:

    The Canadian Unified Family Courts, in Ontario province, include family court information centres, which provide user-friendly information and assistance to court visitors. The centres are staffed, amongst others, by information and referral officers, as well as family mediators. In order to provide mediation services in the family court, mediators require a professional degree or equivalent, a minimum of 60 hours of family mediation training (basic and advanced skill course), a minimum of 100 hours of supervision and/or a minimum of 5 cases mediated to the point of agreement where a practising mediator has provided supervision and/or consultation.

    Australia:

    The Australian Family Court has been in existence for over 25 years and is widely seen as the best practice model of family courts internationally. Australia however does not impose a positive duty on family court-based staff to assist members of the public in the drafting of legal documentation. Training has therefore focussed primarily on procedural law and on communication with court users and is conducted on an in-house basis. This training is regularly under review and no permanent curriculum is available. The family courts are currently using a four-stage face-to-face and on-line training programme on the implementation of Family Law Rules 2004, which incorporates cultural diversity training relating to all new forms for all staff. The court also provides intensive induction training for all staff on domestic violence, including modules on registry-specific procedures and the impact of family violence in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. At present, the training provided to staff through the Australian Family Court is not formally accredited. Vocational graduate certificates and diplomas have only recently been introduced under the Australian Qualification Training Framework during 2005. Currently, no court-based family law qualification has been registered.

    Singapore:

    In Singapore, a qualification was introduced in 2005 focussing on mediation skills for staff and volunteers working in family courts. This Certificate of Mediation is awarded by the subordinate courts of Singapore in co-operation with the Temasek Polytechnic, and comprises of five modules: Family law; Basics of mediation; Advanced mediation; Introduction to counselling; and Family Issues in Mediation and Counselling. The qualification entails 90 hours of learning. A prerequisite for entry to this qualification is that learners must be an employee, prospective employee or volunteer based at the Singapore Family Court.

    The South African Certificate in Court-based family law practice is much broader in scope and covers more detailed knowledge and skills terrain than the examples above. None of the countries above have registered a comprehensive formal qualification specifically aimed at family court service providers, although the need for such a step has been noted in some instances (most notably in Australia). The training of court-based family law practitioners in other countries with family courts ordinarily takes place via in-house, customised training courses which have not been structured to represent a formal qualification.

    Besides South Africa, no other African country has pursued the approach to family law services typically associated with family courts. As such, comparability with African countries could not be done. 

    ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    The National Certificate in Family Law Practice articulates horizontally with the following qualifications:
  • National Diploma: Service Management (Court Management), 20414.
  • National Certificate: Paralegal Practice, 49597.
  • National Diploma: Paralegal Practice, ID 49598.

    This qualification will also articulate vertically with:
  • Bachelor of Laws. 

  • MODERATION OPTIONS 
    Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments. Moderation of assessments will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines and agreed ETQA procedures. This qualification can be internally assessed by assessors of the provider and moderated by a moderator registered by the relevant ETQA. Moderation shall comply with SAQA requirements.

    Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this qualification or its unit standards must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA. 

    CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    Assessors for this qualification will hold a level 6 qualification in law or will be competent in the outcomes of this qualification and have worked on family law matters in the court environment for at least 3 years. 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    NOTES 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARDS: 
      ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
    Core  123217  Administer family law matters  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  15234  Apply efficient time management to the work of a department/division/section  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  123218  Assist people with family law matters  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  123224  Complete pleadings in divorce matters  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  123228  Conduct children's court matters  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  123226  Facilitate maintenance complaints  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  117854  Facilitate meetings to deal with conflict situations  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  123227  Guide complainants involved in domestic violence matters  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  123229  Utilise domestic violence procedures  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Core  123220  Utilise maintenance enquiry procedures  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  123222  Demonstrate understanding of selected concepts of family law  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  123210  Demonstrate understanding of the children's court system in South Africa  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  123225  Demonstrate understanding of the divorce system in South Africa  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  123221  Demonstrate understanding of the legal framework and context of domestic violence in South Africa  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  123223  Demonstrate understanding of the legal principles of marriage in South Africa  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  123215  Demonstrate understanding of the maintenance court system in South Africa  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Fundamental  123212  Demonstrate understanding of the South African family law context  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  365181  Apply court ethics and the etiquette when acting as a prosecutor  Level 5  NQF Level 05 
    Elective  365179  Apply the general principles of legal costs in the magistrate courts  Level 5  NQF Level 05 
    Elective  365219  Apply the supervision role of the executor's administration of a deceased estate  Level 5  NQF Level 05 
    Elective  117848  Conduct mediation in situations that require advanced skills  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  12 
    Elective  365184  Consider default judgements in terms of Rule 12 of the Magistrates' Court Act 32 of 1944  Level 5  NQF Level 05 
    Elective  123213  Support victims of domestic violence  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  365180  Tax bills of costs in the magistrates' court  Level 5  NQF Level 05 
    Elective  365220  Understand and apply the principles and rules relating to the admissibility and proof of the contents of relevant detrimental statements  Level 5  NQF Level 05 
    Elective  123219  Utilise selected skills in children's court matters  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  123211  Utilise selected skills in maintenance matters  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  365187  Apply the master's supervision of the administration of an estate of a person incapable of managing his or her own affairs  Level 6  NQF Level 06 
    Elective  365185  Apply the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 in Public Bodies  Level 6  NQF Level 06 
    Elective  365199  Apply the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, Act 3 of 2000  Level 6  NQF Level 06  10 
    Elective  365182  Appoint a Tutor, Curator or Administrator to a person incapable or prohibited from managing his or her own affairs  Level 6  NQF Level 06  10 
    Elective  365191  Authorising a person to act in deceased estate  Level 6  NQF Level 06 
    Elective  123214  Conduct breach of protection order trials  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Elective  365239  Demonstrate a knowledge of the principles and methodology that underlie the drafting and the processing of legislation.  Level 6  NQF Level 06  15 
    Elective  365190  Demonstrate an understanding of the legislative factors and principles of common law impacting on specific alcohol-related road traffic offences  Level 6  NQF Level 06  10 
    Elective  365189  Examine a liquidation and distribution Account in a deceased estate  Level 6  NQF Level 06  10 
    Elective  365186  Examine the account of a Tutor, Curator or Administrator  Level 6  NQF Level 06 
    Elective  365188  Practical application of the principles of legislative drafting  Level 6  NQF Level 06  10 
    Elective  123216  Utilise selected skills in divorce matters  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 


    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. JUSTICE COLLEGE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.