Criminal Lawyer Salary in South Africa

How much do criminal lawyers earn in South Africa? And what are the roles and responsibilities of criminal lawyers? When venturing into this career path, it is essential to understand the financial aspect of being a criminal lawyer in South Africa to make an informed decision about your career.

Occupation:Criminal Lawyer
Monthly Salary Range:R 20000 – R 75165
Average Monthly Salary:R 47582.5
Description:Criminal lawyers are legal professionals defending individuals accused of criminal offenses. They have many responsibilities, from explaining legal regulations and offering guidance on legal strategies to presenting evidence during courtroom proceedings.
Minimum Qualification:To practice law in South Africa, you must attain a law degree (LLB), the essential education requirement. Afterward, gaining practical experience in legal settings is crucial, providing aspiring lawyers with valuable knowledge about the legal system. In addition, you must also complete the board exams.

In this guide, I will explore the earning potential of a criminal lawyer in South Africa and their roles and responsibilities. Hence, keep reading to gain insight and a comprehensive understanding of the criminal lawyer’s compensation structure in South Africa.

Overview of Criminal Lawyer Salary in South Africa

Candidates can prepare for the exams while working as candidate attorneys. Furthermore, to be eligible for legal practice in South Africa, one must be at least 21 years old, ensuring you are ready for the responsibilities that come with legal practice. Additionally, on average, a criminal defense lawyer receives a monthly income of about R47,583 in South Africa.


Criminal defense lawyers receive additional compensation in the form of bonuses. They receive a bonus of R35,997. However, the amount may vary due to different factors, such as the complexity of the cases lawyers handle, the success of their legal outcomes, or the performance-based structures of the law firm or organization they work for.

Salary Structure

The salary of criminal defense lawyers across South Africa may vary due to different factors, including their experience, certifications, education, additional skills, certification, and more. Hence, the exact figure might go, but on average, in South Africa, the monthly income for a criminal defense lawyer varies between R25,000 and R120,000. The following is the list of salaries of a criminal defense lawyer according to their experience level:

Position (Experience Level)Salaries
Started Position (1-3 years of experience)R5067,499 Per Year
MedianR719,944 Per Year
Professional (8 plus years of experience)R901,975 Per Year

In addition, the salary of a criminal defense lawyer might also vary due to location because of the differences in living costs and demands. The following is the list of criminal defense lawyer salaries in different cities of South Africa:

Also Check:  Office Administrator Salary in South Africa
South African CitiesSalaries
Cape TownR35,000 Per Month
JohannesburgR90,000 Per Month
DurbanR120,000 Per Month
PretoriaR70,000 Per Month

Roles and Responsibilities of Criminal Lawyer

Describing the responsibilities of a criminal lawyer is inherently challenging because of the expansive nature of the profession. Some of the critical duties of criminal defense lawyers are as follows:

Legal Representation

Criminal lawyers, also known as criminal defense lawyers, are mainly responsible for representing individuals facing criminal charges. Furthermore, they help defendants at every stage of a criminal case, from police investigations to acting as their advocate in court.

Offer Guidance to Clients

They explain legal options and guide clients throughout the legal process. This involves discussing potential outcomes, risks, and the best action they should take.

Furthermore, they often negotiate with prosecutors to reach favorable client settlements. Negotiation skills are among the best skills any criminal defense lawyer must possess to secure the best possible outcomes.

Case Analysis and Courtroom Presence

Criminal lawyers are responsible for critically analyzing the case details, scrutinizing evidence, and ensuring that there are no loopholes. This involves a thorough understanding of criminal laws and regulations.

In addition, they also represent clients in court proceedings, presenting arguments, cross-examining witnesses, and more. Furthermore, they must be effective communicators with a strong understanding of courtroom procedures.


How much money does a criminal lawyer make in South Africa?

On average, the monthly income for a criminal lawyer in South Africa ranges between R25,000 and R120,000. Their salaries might vary due to multiple factors, including experience level, sector, qualification, education, etc.

To sum up, a criminal defense lawyer is a legal professional representing and defending an individual accused of criminal charges. If you plan to pursue a career as a criminal lawyer, read the instructions in this blog.

Article Modified on October 28, 2023. The data in this article is written and collected by multiple authors. Learn how we research on About Us.