Background of the UFS Law Clinic

  • Established late 1980s on initiative of members of staff, Faculty of Law and senior law students.
  • Initially conducted as advice office where senior law students advised economically impoverished members of local community on legal problems experienced.
  • Operated for a number of years in cooperation with Legal Aid South Africa (LASA) (formerly known as ‘The Legal Aid Board’) from the same offices.
  • Cooperation with LASA terminated on 1 March 2007.
  • Since 2007 the Law Clinic is conducted independently as a Faculty Centre, still resorting under the Department of Procedural Law and Law of Evidence.
  • Currently operates from the premises in the central business area of Bloemfontein, namely 142 Zastron Street.
Aims and Objectives of the UFS Law Clinic

  • To provide free legal advice and services to people who are deemed to be indigent in terms of such criteria as may from time to time be determined or approved by the Councils of the Law Society of the Free State and the Free State Bar Council (hereinafter referred to as “the Councils of the organised profession”).
  • To provide practical legal training to final-year LL.B students of the Faculty of Law, University of the Free State.
  • To collaborate and cooperate with all stakeholders regarding socio-economic and legal issues in order to create general access to justice for the community that the UFS Law Clinic serves.
  • To align all programmes and activities of the UFS Law Clinic with the University of the Free State’s declared policy of community service and service learning.
  • To engage with the community in terms of which the community will benefit on the one side, and on the other side, to equip students for practice and responsible South African citizenship.
Overview of Community Service

On 31 March 2012 the contract between the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the various University Law Clinics ended. The ending of the project caused the Law Clinic to limit the number of intake of clients with effect from 1 January 2012.

Since January 2012 the Law Clinic does not accept any new civil clients in light of the uncertainty pertaining to the renewal of the DOJ & CD National Youth Support Programme. All candidate attorneys and attorneys currently employed at the LAW CLINIC received remuneration from the external funding provided by this programme.

The Law Clinic is still the sole provider of free legal assistance in Court 21 (court for illegal immigrants) and Court 30 (domestic violence court).

Overview of Service Learning

Currently community service learning forms part of the following modules: BWR224 (Law of Evidence); RPK412 and RPK422 (Legal Practice).

The Law Clinic is responsible for the facilitation of community service learning at the Faculty of Law with no additional cost implications to the Law Clinic.

During the first semester of 2011, one group of students enrolled for BWR224 during 2010 finalised their project. The group conducted a needs analysis at the Tshepong Victim Crisis Centre regarding the needs of applicants seeking protection orders. One of the identified needs was the erection of a board at the entrance of the centre that will provide members of the community with directions to the centre. The students raised funds and caused this board to be erected at the centre. The students further devised an information leaflet that could be used for first-time visitors to the centre. The leaflet explains the process of application for a protection order.

Students partaking in community service learning in the module RPK412 planned their project and will present said project during the first part of the second semester of 2012.

The Law Clinic will during the second semester (upon approval received from Student Affairs) include a service learning part in the modules RPK122 as well as RPK322. This will be the first time that a community service learning component is included in these modules.

Free State Access to Justice Cluster Project

The Law Clinic acts as secretariat of the FSAJC project. In terms of this project the Law Clinic provides training and support legal services to community based paralegal offices in the Free State.

The project is funded by Atlantic Philanthropies through the AULAI Trust; however, funding received for the continuation of the project in 2012 has been limited to R100 000,00 as opposed to nearly R400 000,00 received in 2011.

From 2012 the funder does not provide for remuneration of personnel involved in the project.

As of yet, no funding were received for the project to commence in 2012. The Law Clinic will proceed with the FSAJC programme as soon as the funds are received.

Candidate Attorney Training Project

All candidate attorneys employed at the Law Clinic since 2007 received a monthly stipend from the funding provided by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

All university Law Clinics that formed part of the project the past four years are awaiting a reply from the Department of Justice on whether or not the project will be renewed.

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