The University of South Africa (Unisa) has launched three brand new law clinics in the country. The clinics are located in Polokwane, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.
These law clinics will give citizens free qualified legal aid and representation in any court of law, tribunal or body in which a citizen is compelled to appear before. Their focus will centre on community engagement.
They will deal with matters of divorce, maintenance, domestic violence, eviction as well as civil, labour and impact litigation. They will not, however, assist with liquidation matters, conveyancing patents, copyrights, trademarks, medical negligence, representation of a juristic person and drafting of wills.
It will also allow Unisa to carry out the clinic's projects for the students such as street law, moot court, student debate and practical legal training. These yearly programmes also allow the university to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Head of Unisa’s Law Clinic Advocate Kgagudi Morota explained that the concept of the rule of law has no meaning until it signifies unlimited access to justice for poor and needy members of a community.
"We serve humankind by playing a critical role in the promotion of Section 34 of the Bill of Rights which guarantees that everyone has access to justice through the court of law in a democratic South Africa” explained Morota.
The Unisa Law Clinic is a justice centre recognised in terms of the Legal Practice Act, 28 of 2013 and accredited by the Legal Practice Council.
College of Law Acting Executive Dean, Prof Olaotse Kole believes that Unisa should have law clinics in all the regional centres where the university operates. They added that the establishment of law clinics in other areas will bring back the dignity of the university’s students of colour and communities to receive justice and quality education.