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The Law Clinic at the Missionvale Campus is a full-fledged law firm which provides free legal services to people in need, and at the same time gives students opportunities to train in a real-life setting.

Final year Legal Practice students are exposed to community service and see first-hand the dire need for access to justice by the poor and working class, and how they as future lawyers can contribute to public welbeing.

“We provide access to justice in the form of high quality legal services to indigent peoples in the community,” says Law Clinic director Matilda Smith.

“Having the clinic here in Missionvale is fantastic because we are surrounded by townships, formal and informal, and a large number of our clientele come from nearby.”

The facility is free, but clients still undergo a procedural means test as they would at the Legal Aid Board. The service is in demand:  several hundred pairs of feet come through the clinic each month in a quest for justice.

“We are obviously limited by our funding so there are times when we have to say ‘we don’t have capacity to deal with this at the moment’ and then we will refer on,” notes Smith.

A team of supervising attorneys ensure that the student work is top-notch, along with access to the full law library and legal resources of the university.

“We are registered as a University Law Clinic, accredited by the Legal Practice Council,” explains Smith.

Qualified lawyers, candidate attorneys and paralegals which consist of final year students registered for the Legal Practice course staff the clinic. In addition to consultations, the clinic also offers a pro bono mediation service, which can be immensely useful to smooth, and shorten, legal processes and leaves people more at peace than they are after litigation.

The Law Clinic’s collaborative approach is also a bonus. For example, if a complainant in a domestic abuse case, for example, needs psychosocial support services, they can be referred to the Psychology Clinic nearby. The latter, in turn, may refer a client in need of legal advice to the Law Clinic.

PERSONAL TOUCH: Law Clinic receptionist Zanele Mlindazwi helps a client register for legal assistance

Contact information
Ms Matilda Smith
Director - Law Clinic
Tel: 041 504 1199