The Legal Aid Clinic
The Legal Aid Clinic has always had the reputation of being the leading clinic within the region and one of the best clinics in South Africa, due to its forward thinking strategies within the clinical movement, its provision of quality legal services and its progressive faculty. The Clinic forms part of Faculty of Law at the University of the Western Cape. The Clinic is an accredited Law Clinic and operates with the permission and in compliance with the rules of the Cape Law Society.
Since its inception, the Clinic has operated consistently within the University’s guiding principles of being of value to its students and the community it serves. It fulfils these twin needs of access to justice for its indigent clientele and by providing senior law students with clinical legal education and training.
The Legal Aid Clinic operates as a law practice run by a professional staff of experienced attorneys. The clinic provides free legal services to indigent communities. The Clinic through its cluster of paralegal offices provides additional legal services and outreach programmes in The Clinic provides legal services in a range of legal matters to the poor and marginalized communities in the surrounding Cape Metro, Boland and West Coast Region of the Western Cape. The clinic has increased its community outreach and is currently operating in the Fezeka and Mitchells Plain community courts.
In respect of the educational aspect, the Legal Process course is a full year elective course and the student advisors are exposed, under close supervision by qualified attorneys, to live-client, in house clinical legal education. The “learn-by-doing” and “individual critique” method of instruction at the clinic gives students a critical frame of reference by which they can effectively evaluate their own work as well as the work of others. The Clinic seeks to acquaint the students with the social legal problems of our indigent clientele and to instil in them a sense of social responsibility, thus ultimately producing a better quality graduate.
The aims and objectives of the Clinic are:
To provide legal representation and a legal service to indigent people with specific focus on gender, human rights abuses and socio-economic rights issues;
To provide senior law students with clinical legal education;
To provide legal training for Candidate Attorneys at the Clinic;
To provide legal support and back-up legal services to cluster partners and advice offices.