About the UP Law Clinic
- Photo by/foto deur Lourens Grové
The Law Clinic at the University of Pretoria's Faculty of Law, which opened its doors in June 1980, has a tradition of rendering legal services to the indigent. Students, candidate attorneys and legal practitioners are offered a unique opportunity to practice law whilst being guided by experienced practitioners.
Students consult with and advise clients, engage in collaborative research aimed at problem solving, draft pleadings and letters, negotiate with attorneys and candidate attorneys and acquire lawyering skills at both a theoretical and practical level. Staff at the Clinic provides constructive feedback. The Law Clinic is fully accredited with the Law Society of the Northern Provinces and the Association of University Legal Aid Institutions, providing free legal services to the indigent. Major areas of work in which students, candidate attorneys and attorneys are involved include Family and Divorce Law, Domestic Violence, Consumer Law, Credit Law, Child Law, Labour Law, Delict and Criminal Law.
Members of the Faculty and the profession actively support the Clinic by providing quality legal education to students and quality legal services to the marginalised community.
A legal advice office, established during 1994 by the Centre for Human Rights in Hammanskraal was converted into a branch of the Law Clinic during January 2001, providing a full range of services to the marginalised communities of Hammanskraal, Moretele, Mandela Village and Manjaneng. Since 1 February 2003 the Hammanskraal branch functions in conjunction with the Legal Aid Board as a joint venture. It now specialises in civil litigation. During March 2008 another branch opened on the Mamelodi Campus providing a full range of legal services to the indigent in the surrounding areas thereto. Illiteracy and poverty are endemic to these areas, often resulting in people not being able to gain access to equitable justice.
The UP Law Clinic:
· is statutorily recognised;
· forms part of the Faculty of Law;
· enjoys accreditation and certification by the relevant Law Society;
· employs a full-time director and principal attorneys, professional assistants, candidate attorneys, administrative and secretarial staff;
· has the necessary infrastructure, filing and bookkeeping systems;
· provides legal services free of charge;
· enjoys liability cover under a comprehensive insurance policy;
· is responsible for academic credit regarding clinical legal education courses in the Faculty;
· is a member of AULAI (Association for University Legal Aid Institutions);
· receives financial support from the University, as well as outside funders;
· has strong links with other clinics in South Africa and abroad;
· often enters into co-operation agreements with government agencies, professional bodies, NGO’s and paralegal advice offices;
· has a main office in Hatfield and branch offices in Hammanskraal and Mamelodi;
· is the preferred training provider for aspirant debt counsellors.
Through the Clinic, final year law students and candidate attorneys are offered a unique opportunity to practice law while being mentored by experienced clinic lawyers.
Due to the variety of projects that the Clinic is involved in, the following divisions exist in the Clinic to deal with the various projects:
· Civil Litigation;
· Debt Counselling;
· Hatfield Community Court and Criminal Law;
· Research and Short Courses; and
· Special Projects.
The Clinic’s branch offices in Hammanskraal and Mamelodi provide legal services and advice to the poor and often marginalised communities in the surrounding rural and semi rural areas.
The UP Law Clinic strives to be the leading law clinic in Africa and to contribute in maintaining the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria as a world class Faculty in respect of its main functions relating to teaching, research and community service
· To use the practice of law (simulated and actual) as a context to teach and research substantive and procedural law, ethics, professional skills, effective interpersonal relations, appropriate dispute resolution techniques and the ability to integrate law, fact, procedure and values;
· To provide quality legal services to the indigent thereby increasing access to justice; and
· To foster a commitment in staff and students to build a society based on democratic values, social justice and the rule of law.
The Law Clinic forms part of the Faculty of Law and is statutorily recognised as a Legal Aid Clinic in terms of the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979 (as amended), duly certified and accredited as such by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.
The staff report to the Head of the Department of Procedural Law in the Faculty of Law on their teaching activities and to a Management Committee on their community service. They are accountable to the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Law and to the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.
To download the Clinic's 30th Year Commemorative Journal in PDF format, click here (approximately 53.2MB)