FUNDING AND PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE
The Law Clinic’s primary source of funding as far as salaries of staff is concerned, is the Faculty of Law. Funds for day-to-day running costs are derived from the profits made by the National Diploma in Law (Paralegal Studies). Currently the Attorneys Fidelity Fund also makes a substantial contribution towards the running expenses of the Law Clinic and has committed to doing so for 2018 and 2019. This contribution is made on condition that the Law Clinic continues to make a satisfactory contribution to providing free legal services to the community. Quarterly reports are required to be submitted to the Attorneys Fidelity Fund in this regard.
As far as legal assistance and court cases are concerned, final year LLB students, supervised and assessed by the professional staff of the clinic attend to consultation with clients, discussing the clients legal problems with the attorneys, doing legal research and giving legal advice to clients, opening of files and managing the finances on the file, dealing with housekeeping issues, drafting of letters, court pleadings and motions to court, as well as preparation of court cases in general. All of this is continuously and extensively supervised and corrected by the attorneys on a daily basis. The actual appearances in court obviously have to be done by the attorneys themselves. Since funding for court cases is not available or provided for in the Law Clinic budget, there is always a need for expert legal assistance and the assistance of other experts on a pro bono basis, especially when a case has to be heard by the High Court but nevertheless also in the magistrates’ courts.
The UJ Law Clinic won first prize as Best Community Engagement Project for 2012. This success story is a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of the staff of the Law Clinic. It also shows that our final year LLB students care for their community and wish to extend access to justice to those members of the community who cannot afford private legal assistance.
We learn from the past to build on in the future. The Doornfontein Law Clinic that opened in January 2008, is attracting the attention of the needy of the almost forgotten people of the inner suburbs of Johannesburg. Mrs. Elize Radley previously acted as supervising attorney at the erstwhile Johannesburg Courts Clinic and during 2011 the Doornfontein Law Clinic on a half day basis as Principal Attorney. Her post had been converted into a full-day position from the beginning of 2012 as a result of the constantly increasing student numbers. Mrs. Radley has recently dealt with a number of very difficult cases successfully and continues to do so.
The “new” branch of the UJ Law Clinic on the UJ Soweto Campus, is in operation for its second year. It is housed in a building was specially redesigned and adapted for our purposes and finally lends a sense of permanency to the Law Clinic. This has opened the way to serve the massive community of Soweto where services such as ours are still much needed, and the challenge is huge. The students and staff at the Soweto Law Clinic are constantly stretched to their limits due to the numbers of clients that seek their legal assistance.
On 12 May 2011 the UJ Soweto Law Clinic was officially opened. We were honoured to have the Deputy Chief Justice, Judge Dikgang Moseneke as well as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Prof. Ihron Rensburg present to launch this clinic and to unveil a plaque on our clinic building commemorating the event.
The Faculty of Law’s commitment to Community Engagement and the Law Clinic is tangible and we were grateful for the invaluable contributions of the Dean, Prof. LG Mpedi, as well as the Head of the Department of Procedural Law, Prof. Dawie de Villiers, towards broadening our horizons into Soweto.
The Soweto Law Clinic, Principal Attorney, Mrs. Alet Beyl has done a sterling job at settling this clinic and it is now a well-known resource in the Soweto community. The Attorney, Mr. Elton Hart, who previously practiced in Cape Town, has made a significant contribution to the success of this clinic.
Behind it all is the dedication of the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus Law Clinic, Mrs. Natasha Naidoo, as well as that of the Law Clinic secretary, Mrs. Magda Otto, who toiled quietly behind the scenes and took on a lot of extra work in order to give the rest of the professional staff the opportunity to settle into their new environments at the other two clinics. This clinic continuously finalizes high number of litigious matters either through settlement or in court cases. We are fortunate to currently have Miss Gökşen Effendi, attorney, at the APK Campus Law Clinic as well.