About Pro Bono Services Available from Werksmans Attorneys
Quality legal advice can be extremely expensive in South Africa. And that is why Werksmans Attorneys take on pro bono cases from time to time.
What does Pro Bono Mean?
Essentially it is when a professional, in this case, an attorney, offers their services to those who cannot afford to pay free of charge.
What Approach Does Werksmans Take?
The company has a team comprising of two lawyers and a director who look after this area full-time. Importantly, the focus that the company takes in pro bono work is on impact litigation. So, matters that have an impact on both people and the environment.
What Cases Do They Take On?
Property Rights Cases
- Disputes about ownership and
- Difficulties between landlords and tenants.
- Disputes that relate to the breach of consumer protection regulations and
- Breaches of the National Credit Act or the Consumer Protection Act.
- Protection for children from violence.
- A child’s right to education and
- Child maintenance issues.
- Unfair discrimination.
- Equal access to education and employment.
- Disability grant issues.
- Advocacy education.
- Employment contracts are drawn up.
- Disputes between employer and employee.
- Disputes over water access.
- Environmental issues.
- Access to burial sites.
The representation of those who are not being allowed to access healthcare.
Access to Justice
- Representation at CCMA hearings.
- Some representation in Small Claims Court.
The company does focus on providing some pro bono work for charitable trusts, non-profit organisations. Importantly, this includes registration, assistance with good corporate governance and advice about areas of risk. For example, they provide advice on how a non-profit can minimise potential liability issues.
The firm prides itself in pairing causes with those attorneys who believe in the said cause. This helps to improve potential results.
Their Strategy for Pro Bono Work
The firm aims to provide face to face advice through legal clinics. They run the Werksmans Consumer Law Clinic in tandem with Afrika Tikkun. This particular law clinic is based in Diepsloot and is a one of its kind.
The clinic assists with various matters from the access to services, such as getting a social grant through to property-related issues.
The firm has also partnered with ProBono.Org, a legal clearinghouse. In this respect, the firm runs a consumer protection law clinic once a week in Braamfontein. This is supplemented by bi-monthly support for the housing law clinic that ProBono.Org offers.
These clinics are supplemented by additional themed ones such as those for Women’s Day, etc.
The company offers support on an ad hoc basis for more than fifty recognised and registered charities. The company helps to raise funds for worthy causes such as youth mentorship programs, domestic abuse victims and also organisations that promote environmental awareness.
Overall, Werkmans believe that a law firm has a duty to improve the lives of those in the community it serves. It works towards this goal by providing legal advice in a timely manner.
If you have an issue that you would like to have handled on a pro bono basis, you can approach the attorneys at one of the clinics and present your case to them.
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