South Africa

Region Africa

National Report

Summary of Contents


South Africa is a unitary state with a representative democracy. This has existed since 1994 which was the advent of the democratic era. Before that date the country was categorised by the racially oppressive system of apartheid whereupon the full vote was given to so-called white citizens only and other races were marginalised in every sphere of society.

In terms of demographics, there are approximately 57 million inhabitants from various ethnic groups, with the significant majority being so-called black African. There are 11 official languages, but English dominates as the language of law, commerce and government. The dominant religion is Christianity.

Some socio-economic information[1]:

Chart 01. Gross domestic product (GDP) for the last ten years

2010 375.3 Billion US $
2011 416.9 Billion US $
2012 396.3 Billion US $
2013 366.8 Billion US $
2014 350.9 Billion US $
2015 317.7 Billion US $
2016 295.8 Billion US $
2017 349.4 Billion US $

Source: World Bank

The gross national income at purchasing power parity per capita GNI (PPP) is 75 575.42. Inequality is extremely high and the poverty line (the percentage of population deemed to be living in poverty) is 55.5%. This high level of inequality and poverty dovetails with high levels of unemployment. All three of these economic scourges have various causes, but the relics of the apartheid system which greatly marginalised the majority of the population is a clear factor in this unfortunate status quo.

Life expectancy at birth is 62 years. This can be said to be a reasonably good figure for a developing country and might be explained by a relatively good health care system and at least some form of social assistance being in place.

The expected years of schooling and mean years of schooling is 12 years.

The 2018 human development index is 113 out of 189. This figure likely flows from the inequality, poverty and unemployment faced by large swathes of the population described above. There is in essence an economic paradox. South Africa is one of Africa’s economic powerhouses as evidenced by GDP, yet wealth is terribly skewed in favour of a small minority.


South Africa has adopted an “accusatorial” or “adversarial” system due to the influence of English Law. As a result, presiding officers in criminal and civil cases have a more passive role during the litigation stage. The presiding officer’s decision is based on the information put forward by both parties. This is to ensure that the presiding officer remains neutral and is independent.[1]

3.1. Criminal Procedure

3.1.1. Criminal pre-trial steps

Once a crime is reported to the South African Police Service, a docket is opened, and the crime is thereafter investigated by an investigating officer. The investigating officer will take statements from witnesses and hold an identity parade if necessary. If a firearm was used, the firearm and bullets are sent for a ballistics examination. If there was DNA recovered, the DNA is sent for testing. If there are photos or video footage, the authenticity of this or these is/are tested. Following the investigation, the docket is sent to the prosecutor who sits at the court with jurisdiction over the matter for consideration. The prosecutor may decide that further investigation is required. Once the investigation is complete, the prosecutor must decide as to whether to prosecute or not. If the prosecutor decides to prosecute, the matter is sent to the Court for indictment, where the accused is formally charged.[2]

Chart 03. The (criminal) pre-trial steps

3.1.2. Criminal trial

On the first day of the trial, the charges are formally put to the accused. The accused then pleads guilty or not guilty to the charges.

If the accused pleads guilty, the accused may enter into a Plea and Settlement Agreement in terms of Section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (the CPA).

Alternatively, the accused may make a Guilty Plea Statement in terms of Section 112 of the CPA. If the Court is of the opinion that the accused has admitted to all the elements of the crime in their Section 112 Statement, the Court will find the accused guilty and the accused is convicted.

If the Court rejects the statement made in terms of Section 112 of the CPA the Court records a plea of not guilty and the prosecutor is directed to proceed with the prosecution. This happens, for example,  if there is doubt as to whether the accused is guilty in law of the offence which he or she pleaded guilty to or if all of the elements of the crime were not admitted, or if the accused has a valid defence and so forth.

In terms of Section 109 of the CPA, if the accused elects to remain silent and does not plead, the Court must record a plea of not guilty.

If the accused pleads guilty, he is given the opportunity to make a statement in terms of Section 115 of the CPA indicating the basis of his defence. The accused may choose to remain silent and not make a statement indicating the basis of his defence.

Section 105(1) of the CPA allows the prosecutor to address the court before any evidence is led for the purposes of explaining the charge and to indicate the evidence that will be led to support the charge. The prosecutor examines witnesses for the prosecution and adduces evidence to attempt to prove the accused committed the crime that they have been charged with or that the accused committed an offence of which he can be convicted on such a charge. This is done in terms of Section 150(2)(a) of the CPA. The witnesses for the prosecution may be cross-examined by the accused and then re-examined by the prosecutor (Section 161(1) of the CPA). The Prosecution then closes their case.

Section 174 of the CPA provides that, at the close of the state’s case, if the court is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence referred to in the charge or any offence of which he may be convicted on the charge, it may return a verdict of not guilty. This amounts to an acquittal.

If there is no discharge in terms of Section 174, the accused may choose to lead evidence and may also address the court in terms of Section 151(1)(a) to indicate the evidence he will be adducing to support his defence. In terms of Section 151(1)(b)(i), if the accused intends giving evidence on behalf of himself, unless good cause is shown, the accused will give evidence first. The accused may then examine other witnesses and adduce evidence to prove his defence. The prosecutor may cross-examine the accused’s witnesses and the accused may re-examine their witnesses (Section 161(1) of the CPA). The defence (i.e. the accused or their representative) will then close its case.

Section 175 (1) allows the prosecution and then the defence to address the court once all the evidence is led. The court then makes a judgment on the merits of the matter. If the accused is found not guilty, the accused is acquitted. If the accused is found guilty, the accused is convicted and later sentenced. Appeal against conviction and sentence is possible.

Chart 04. The criminal trial

3.1.3. Consistency with the Rule of Law

In South Africa, the doctrine of separation of powers has been adopted. This means that the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary are completely independent of each other and have to perform their duties accordingly.

Presiding officers (judges and magistrates) are required to take an oath or affirmation in which they pledge to uphold the Constitution, which is the supreme law in South Africa, and the human rights contained in it. They further undertake to dispense with legal matters without fear, favour or prejudice, and in a manner that is compliant with the Constitution.[3]

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who are responsible for instituting and conducting criminal proceedings on behalf of the State are also autonomous.

3.2. Civil Procedure

3.2.1. Overview of Civil Procedures

There are two ways instituting proceedings in a civil court, by way of an Action or by way of Application procedure. The determining factor when deciding on which manner to proceed is whether a material dispute of fact is foreseen. If a material dispute of fact is foreseen, it is best to proceed by way of an Action. If there is no material dispute of fact, you may proceed by way of an Application.

In an Application proceeding, the matter is usually decided upon on the papers before the court. Parties to these proceedings will depose to affidavits containing their submissions. Usually, oral evidence is not given during Application proceedings. If the presiding officer is unable to decide the matters on the papers before them, they may call for oral evidence and/or oral argument. Application proceedings are usually quicker than Action proceedings.

3.2.2. Action Proceedings

In an Action proceeding, cross-examination is used to test the evidence. The parties to an action proceeding are a Plaintiff (person who institutes the action) and a Defendant. To proceed by way of action, a summons needs to be issued by the clerk or registrar of the court and then served by the Sheriff of the Court on the Defendant.

A combined summons will detail the nature of the Plaintiff’s claim against the Defendant and the occurrence that gave rise to the claim. Upon receipt of the summons, the Defendant is required to serve a copy of the Notice of Intention to Defend with the Plaintiff and file the original Notice of Intention to Defend at court within ten days if he intends to defend the action.

If a simple summons was issued and served, the Plaintiff will thereafter serve and file a Declaration detailing the nature of the Plaintiff’s claim against the defendant and the occurrence that gave rise to the claim. The Defendant must thereafter file his plea, in which he replies to every allegation contained in the Particulars of Claim, paragraph by paragraph. At this stage, the Defendant may raise a Special Plea which will either dispense with the cause of action or postpone its operation. The Defendant may also submit a counterclaim should one exist. Should the Plaintiff decide to file a replication (reply to the Defendant’s plea), this needs to be served and file together with the Plaintiff’s Plea to the Defendant’s Counterclaim.

The next stage to the action proceedings is the discovery stage. At this stage, parties to the action are required to make a statement under oath setting out any documentary evidence that is or was in their possession and which relates to the matter. This includes any documentary evidence that is adverse to their case. An application for a trial date is made and a pre-trial conference is attended by both parties. At the pre-trial conference the presiding officer notes the points in dispute, may recommend further settlement discussions and if satisfied that the matter cannot be settled, will certify that the matter is ready for trial. At the trial, the parties may address the court on the evidence they will lead. Next each party will lead oral evidence which is tested under cross-examination by the opposing party. Closing arguments are made and thereafter, judgment is pronounced.

Chart 05. Action Proceedings

3.2.3. Application Proceedings

In an Application proceeding, the parties are the Applicant (party instituting the application) and Respondent. A Notice of Motion coupled with a Founding Affidavit is issued by the Clerk or Registrar of the Court and then served by the Sheriff of the Court on the Respondent. The Notice of Motion indicates the relief sough, while the Founding Affidavit provides the basis for the relief sought.

If the Respondent wishes to oppose the Application, they are required to file a Notice of Intention to Oppose and an Answering Affidavit setting out the reasons why they are opposing the Application. Should the Applicant wish to respond to any points raised by the Respondent, the Applicant may file a Replying Affidavit. Any facts pertinent to the matter should be included in the affidavits as usually only oral arguments by the parties’ legal representatives are heard in application proceedings. No further evidence is put forward once the affidavits are filed and the matter is set down for hearing. Thereafter, the presiding officer will give a judgment.[4]

If a party is dissatisfied with a judgment based on the law, facts of the matter or both, the dissatisfied party may lodge an appeal. The court of appeal will make a decision based on the merits of the matter and may set aside the judgment of the lower court and hand down what is in its opinion the correct judgement. If a party is dissatisfied with the procedure followed by the presiding officer in coming to his decision, the dissatisfied party may take the matter on review. The court of review will only consider the procedure followed and does not consider the merits of the matter.[5]

Chart 06. Application Proceedings

3.2.4. Procedure for urgent matters

Rule 6(12) of the Uniform Rules of Court allows for the normal forms and service to be dispensed with if a matter is of an urgent nature. The time in which the opposition has to respond may also be shortened. The litigant will have to show damage, prejudice or harm of some sort that requires urgent attention in order to qualify for this departure from the normal rules and procedures. The party pursuing relief on an urgent basis will also have to explain to the court why the same relief could not be obtained were the ordinary course of litigation to be pursued.[6]

3.2.5. Encouraging settlement

Although not compulsory in all matters, certain areas of law have incorporated alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR is discussed further below). For example, mediation is obligatory within certain aspects of the family law sector. This is made so through the enactment of statutes such as the Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act 24 of 1987. The Uniform Rules of Court have been amended to include Rules relating to Case Flow Management. The Judge President of a Division may determine which matters should be subject to case flow management and no trial date can be allocated for these matters until it has been certified ready for trial by the Judge.[7] Prior to trial, in both Application and Action proceedings, a pre-trial conference is held between the parties and the presiding officer. The pre-trial conference does not only assist in limiting the issues in dispute at the trial, but also for the presiding officer to establish whether settlement negotiations have taken place, and if not, to encourage the parties to attempt this prior to the trial date.[8]

3.3. Alternative Dispute Resolution

ADR has been incorporated into certain aspects of South African law, key examples set out below.

(i) The Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 provides for and more specifically, encourages alternative dispute resolution procedures be used to resolve labour disputes.[9]
(ii) South Africa also has a number of Ombudsmen appointed to assist in resolving matters by providing advice and mediation – (and even sometimes thereafter making a finding) – when a person has a complaint against a company or an organisation. Some of the established Ombudsmen are the Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance, the Ombudsman for Long-term Insurance, the Ombudsman for Banking Services, Credit Ombudsman, Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa, Council for Medical Schemes and so on. [10] If a party is unhappy with the decision of the ombudsman, the matter may be taken on review.
(iii) The Pension Funds Act 24 of 1956 makes provision for the formation of the Pension Fund Adjudicator which deals with complaints arising from abuse of power, maladministration, disputes of fact or law, and employer neglect of duty in respect of pension funds. An example would be where an employer does not pay employees’ contributions over to the pension fund.[11] If a party is unhappy with the decision of a Pension Funds Adjudicator, they may take the matter on appeal to the Financial Services Tribunal.[12]
(iv) The Rental Housing Tribunal was established to resolve matters between landlords and tenants that arise out of unfair practices in this sphere. A decision made by the Rental Housing Tribunal cannot be appealed, however an aggrieved party may take the matter on review to the High Court, where the Court will review the manner in which the proceedings took place.[13]
(v) The National Consumer Tribunal was established by the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 and its purpose is to determine applications brought by consumers, credit providers, credit bureaux, debt counsellors and the National Credit Regulator. Decisions made by the National Consumer Tribunal may be taken on appeal or review to the High Court.[14]
(vi) The Road Accident Fund (RAF) provides insurance to all users of South African Roads for bodily injuries sustained or to their dependants in the event of their death. The RAF attempts to settle matters out of court. If a claimant is unhappy with the offer, they may sue the RAF. The RAF’s main source of income is the RAF fuel levy which is levied on fuel throughout South Africa.[15] The Road Accident Fund will only compensate a person for general damages if serious injuries were sustained. A claimant may appeal to the Road Accident Fund Appeal Tribunal. The decision of the Tribunal may be reviewed and set aside based on the grounds listed in the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 3 of 2000.[16]
(vii) The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was established to deal with labour disputes and is entirely funded by the Department of Labour.[17] If a party is unhappy with the CCMA ruling, they will be unable to appeal the decision. Their only alternative is to take the arbitrator’s conduct on review if they believe the arbitrator acted unfairly.
(viii) Alternative Dispute resolution is compulsory in terms of legislation pertaining to certain areas of law such as Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act 24 of 1987 and the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995.

There is also private arbitration of disputes if parties to a dispute agree to this. The parties choose their own arbitrator who makes a binding decision. The parties may also request that organisations such as the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa or Association or Arbitrators appoint a suitably qualified arbitrator. This form of arbitration would be funded by the parties. The arbitrator’s decision may be made an order of court.[18] Section 33(1) of the Arbitration Act, No 42 of 1965 lists the grounds on which an aggrieved party may make an application to court to set aside an award made by an arbitrator. These grounds are as follows:

(a) any member of an arbitration tribunal has misconducted himself in relation to his duties as arbitrator or umpire; or

(b) an arbitration tribunal has committed any gross irregularity in the conduct of the arbitration proceeding or has exceeded its powers; or

(c) an award has been improperly obtained.

A form of voluntary diversion in South Africa is taking a claim for R20 000 (about $1290) or less to the Small Claims Court. If the claim is above R20 000, the claimant can choose to abandon the amount causing the claim to exceed R20 000 in order to pursue the claim in the Small Claims Court. The Small Claims Court offers a simpler procedure to that of the ordinary action procedure for claims. Further, the claimant does not require a lawyer to represent them at the small claims court – nor is such representation allowed (in order to ‘level the playing fields’ between litigants as it were). The Claimant sends a letter of demand to the debtor and if there is no response, the claimant can approach the Small Claims Court with a copy of the letter of demand, proof that the debtor received the letter of demand (such as a registered post receipt), a copy of any contractual agreement or any proof of their claim and the debtor’s contact details. The clerk of the court prepares a summons which must be delivered to the debtor by sheriff or by the claimant. The summons will set out a date and time for the debtor to appear in court. Proof that the summons was served on the debtor needs to be submitted on the day of the hearing. The hearing proceedings are simple, and the claimant is asked to tell the Commissioner (who presides over the matter) their version of how the debt arose and may have to answer questions from the commissioner. Judgment is given thereafter.[19] The Commissioner’s finding may be reviewed but not appealed.

3.4. Simplification of law and by-passing legal process

The possibility for urgent civil proceedings has been outlined above. There are some other ‘legal simplifications’ as it were; two of which are listed below.

(i) Section 61 of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 establishes strict liability in the case of producers, importers, distributors or retailers of goods who become automatically liable if unsafe goods are supplied, products fail to work as advertised and defects in any goods, in spite of whose fault it is. This simplifies the legal process for a claimant by reducing an evidentiary burden that would otherwise be upon them.
(ii) The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 allows for no-fault compensation to employees who are injured in accidents which out of and in the course and scope of the employment, or those who develop diseases. Additional compensation may be awarded to employees who are able to prove that the injury or developing of the disease was due to the negligence of their employer. Employers in South Africa are all required to register and contribute towards the Compensation Fund which pays out an employee who becomes temporarily disabled, permanently disabled or to family members of an employee who has died as a result of injuries sustained at work or from the disease contracted.[20]


Access to justice, equal access to court and fair trial rights exists in South Africa by virtue of national law. The Constitution contains explicit provisions relating to access to courts, the right to a fair trial and access to Justice in its section 34 and section 35. Section 34 of the Constitution provides for the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court or, where appropriate, another independent and impartial tribunal or forum. Section 35 provides for the rights of the arrested, accused, detained person. Section 35(3) specifically includes the accused’s right to a fair trial.

The state funds Legal Aid South Africa (LASA) which provides legal services to indigent people mainly in criminal matters plus in certain categories of civil matters subject to availability of resources. LASA has a mixed delivery system which consists of elements such as primarily a Justice Centre Model and a limited Judicare Model. In line with the Justice Centre Model, LASA employs salaried legal practitioners to assist clients at their Justice Centres and Satellite Offices. Salaried Legal Practitioners are also stationed at a number of District and Regional Magistrates Court to assist in effective legal service delivery. The Judicare Model assists increasing LASA’a ability to deliver legal services and by taking on matters, via private lawyers who are engaged to do work in certain circumstances such as where there is a conflict of interest between the client and Legal Aid South Africa, as well as when specialist knowledge not available at the Justice Centre is required and not otherwise available or insufficient in-house capacity exists. LASA also enters into co-operation agreements with other institutions, like certain university law clinics, capable of providing legal services to further increase delivery of legal services- especially in civil matters. LASA also undertakes or funds Impact Litigation Services which will have a noteworthy impact on a group or substantial part of a group. This type of work would be of benefit to a larger group of people rather than just one client.[1]

Access to justice is a problem for poor people as litigation costs in South Africa are very high in relation to average disposable income. Although there are organisations such as Legal Aid South Africa, and other institutions such as University Law Clinics, these are insufficient to accommodate all citizens who are unable to afford legal services. Many citizens who lack the means to afford a private attorney also may not meet the strict financial means test used by these organisations to determine if their clients are ‘poor enough’ to qualify for free legal services. Many of these organisations may also have specific area focus areas and once they have reached their capacity, are unable to take on more clients with similar issues.[2]

Access to Justice has been subject to scholarly[3] and public debate[4].


6.1. Overview of judicial costs for litigants

The Deputy Minister of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development noted that South Africa’s legal fees were “astronomically high” compared with those of other parts of the world (this is in relation to spending-power of the population).[1] There is therefore a need for greater free legal services (broadly defined) for those in dire need of such assistance. Such high legal costs relate chiefly to the costs of engaging a lawyer. Litigants may have a disbursement cost like service of legal process by the sheriff but are otherwise not required to pay a court fee to start a proceeding at a court.

6.2. Exemption from judicial costs

Unless legal aid represented, there will always be legal costs to the legal provider applicable. A concern is that some disbursement costs – e.g. service of court processes by the sheriff of the court – especially for legal aid by NPOs outside LASA – may be payable by legal aid recipients which may in itself make access to legal services prohibitive.

Another huge factor is the risk of an adverse costs order for any recipient of legal aid. In other words, even if a litigant gets free legal services, on losing a civil matter in court (i.e. not applicable to criminal cases), they are very likely to be liable to pay the other litigants costs. This therefore makes litigation in South Africa an inherently risky affair even for recipients of civil legal aid, making access to justice potentially less attainable as litigants may not be willing to risk the little they have in the event of an adverse court finding.

6.3. Mechanisms to reduce costs by variations to courts and procedures

Alternative dispute measures which reduce costs and forums like the Small Claims Court (where lawyers have no right of appearance) are discussed elsewhere in this report.


The LASA strategic litigation division has been mentioned above. Most collective rights/ strategic litigation is done by specialised legal NPOs. Examples are:

(i) The Legal Resources Centre (which was party to the abolishment of the death penalty, for example);
(ii) Lawyers for Human Rights (which has done much such work for refugees and asylum seekers);
(iii) Section 27 which deals with health rights; and
(iv) The Treatment Action Campaign which successfully challenged the government’s erstwhile unconstitutional unequal provision of anti-retrovirals for HIV-positive pregnant mothers[1].

The Constitution’s broad locus standi (legal standing to bring matters) relating to constitutional rights in section 38 encourages litigation of group claims.


Technological innovation in access to justice is not as wide as it could be and thus is not commented upon. There has been some civil procedure development in terms of our courts having allowed service of court processes via Facebook. Such innovations are likely to make access to justice more attainable – e.g. by reducing disbursement costs.


On a collective scale this can be said to be poor, albeit involvement in certain organisations like the Global Alliance for Justice Education and the Commonwealth Legal Association by certain individuals like renowned academic and human rights activist, Prof. David McQuoid-Mason.


There is a definite need to move from excellent criminal legal aid coverage to improved civil legal aid coverage too.

Holness’s research in this area concludes thus:

“This research has repeatedly acknowledged the challenges of providing a comprehensive and good quality civil legal aid … with limited funds available to do this. It is worth reiterating the calls made … for government (mainly through LASA) to increase its budgetary allocation for civil legal aid. But the provision of legal aid facing challenges of limited funding is a widespread phenomenon. Barendrecht and van den Biggelaar have written that many countries struggle to maintain an affordable and sustainable legal aid system. But these authors show how the adaptation in the Netherlands of an “interactive consultation process” between legal aid suppliers and users was able to develop proposals for successfully increasing access to justice whilst limiting the costs of providing the services.[1] It is therefore argued that existing funding limitations should not be seen as an insurmountable obstacle to widening the scope of civil legal aid provided … and improving its quality through a coordinated and well planned approach. Continued efforts should be made to increase funding for civil legal aid… . At the same time careful planning is called for, particularly at the level of the proposed civil legal aid association … , on how most effectively to utilise what monies are available.
Bhabha calls for the need to institutionalise access to justice.[2] This report proposes just such a goal in mind … . It … stresses that to increase access to justice, a full legal needs analysis will have to be undertaken. The extent to which those needs are being met and by whom (must) been documented. (This report proposes a) model aim for a wider and better coordinated civil legal aid system of improved quality … . This model, if implemented, should institutionalise access to justice in civil matters (particularly) … through providing for a civil legal aid scheme that works optimally and covers the key civil legal aid needs through a multi-faceted yet coordinated approach.” [3]


[1] Source of economic data:

[3] See:

[4] See:

[5] For an analysis of CBPs in South Africa see Holness  D “The need for recognition and regulation of paralegals: an analysis of the roles, training, remuneration and impact of community based paralegals in South Africa” (2013) 38(2) Journal of Juridical Science 78-105.

[9] See: Holness, D “The constitutional justification for free legal services in civil matters in South Africa” [2013] 27(2) Speculum Juris 1-21.

[10] Four Wheel Drive CC v Leshni Rattan NO (1048/17) [2018] ZASCA 124 (26 September 2018) Paragraph 22-23.

[14] Appeal v review: why the debate over rulings? Sayed Iqbal Mohamed. 7 August 2012. [Accessed  December 2019].

[16] Amendment of Uniform Rules of Court with the Insertion of Case Management Rules. Office of the Chief Justice. 28 June 2019. [Date Accessed 7 December 2019].

[17] Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys “Step-by-Step Guide to Commercial Litigation” 2016 (1) 1 Page 5 [Accessed 8 December 2019].

[19] A Basic Guide To Ombudsman Schemes In South Africa. Law For All. [Accessed 11 December 2019]

[24] Fuel Levy. Road Accident Fund. . [Accessed 10 December 2019].

[26] CCMA Annual Report 2016/2017. Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration. 2017. [Accessed 9 December 2019].

[28] Small Claims Courts. Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. . [Accessed 14 December 2019].

[29] Myburg, P., 2000. Social security aspects of accident compensation: COIDA and RAF as examples'”. Law Democracy and Development, 5, 45-46.

[32] For scholarly examples, see the following: (1) McQuoid-Mason, David, Access to Justice in South Africa: Are There Enough Lawyers? (May 31, 2013). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2013. Available at SSRN: (2) Holness, D., 2013. Recent developments in the provision of pro bono legal services by attorneys in south africa. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, [Online]. 16/1, 129-164. Available at: [Accessed 10 January 2020]. (3) Holness, D., 2015. Doctor of Laws (LLD), Nelson Mandela (Metropolitan) University. Thesis title: ‘Coordinating free legal services in civil matters for indigent people in Ethekwini: a model for improved access to justice.”

[33] For public debate examples, see the following: (1)  Prince Charles. Access to Justice is not only about Access to Courts, it is about Access to Rights. 23 October 2019. Available at: [Accessed on 10 January 2020] (2)   The Citizen. 2019. Social injustice a great threat to democracy – Thuli Madonsela. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 January 2020].

[35] Brickhill, J., 2018. The Right to Civil Legal Aid in South Africa: Legal Aid South Africa v Magidiwana. Constitution Court Review, [Online]. 8/1, 256-281. Available at: [Accessed 12 January 2020].

[36] Mabuza E (2018) “Legal Aid SA budget cuts bad news for poor and vulnerable seeking justice”. Times Live available at October 2018 Times Live (accessed 1 May 2019).

[37] LASA does provide a quite broad criminal legal aid net – as the statistics in section 5.7.3 below attest to.

[38] See section 5.7.3 below.

[39] See: Holness D “Improving Access to Justice through Law Graduate Post-Study Community Service in South Africa” PER / PELJ 2020(23) – DOI 3781/2020/v23i0a5968

[40] In this regard see Holness, D., 2015. Doctor of Laws (LLD), Nelson Mandela (Metropolitan) University. Thesis title: ‘Coordinating free legal services in civil matters for indigent people in Ethekwini: a model for improved access to justice.”

[41] For a further discussion on this constitutional right and a submission as to a more indirect right to civil legal aid in South Africa in certain matters see: Holness, D “The constitutional justification for free legal services in civil matters in South Africa” [2013] 27(2) Speculum Juris 1-21.

[42] For an analysis thereof see again: Holness, D “The constitutional justification for free legal services in civil matters in South Africa” [2013] 27(2) Speculum Juris 1-21.

[43] LASA 2017

[44] See LASA’s latest Annual Report available at:

[45] For a discussion in this regard see Holness, D., 2015. Doctor of Laws (LLD), Nelson Mandela (Metropolitan) University. Thesis title: ‘Coordinating free legal services in civil matters for indigent people in Ethekwini: a model for improved access to justice.”.

[46] CBPs see Holness  D “The need for recognition and regulation of paralegals: an analysis of the roles, training, remuneration and impact of community based paralegals in South Africa” (2013) 38(2) Journal of Juridical Science 78-105.

[47] In this regard see Holness, D. 2013. Recent developments in the provision of pro bono legal services by attorneys in south africa. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, [Online]. 16/1, 129-164. Available at: [Accessed 10 January 2020]

[48] See Holness “Improving Access to Justice Through Compulsory Student Work at University Law Clinics” [2013] 16(4) Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 328-349.

[49] Manyathi-Jele N “The Legal Practice Bill and Community Service” 2013 De Rebus 10.

[50] See: Holness, D., 2015. Doctor of Laws (LLD), Nelson Mandela (Metropolitan) University. Thesis title: ‘Coordinating free legal services in civil matters for indigent people in Ethekwini: a model for improved access to justice.”

[51] Holness D “Improving Access to Justice through Law Graduate Post-Study Community Service in South Africa” PER / PELJ 2020(23).

[52] Holness, D., 2013. Recent developments in the provision of pro bono legal services by attorneys in South Africa. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, [Online]. 16/1, 129-164. Available at: [Accessed 10 January 2020].

[53] Holness, D., 2015. Doctor of Laws (LLD), Nelson Mandela (Metropolitan) University. Thesis title: ‘Coordinating free legal services in civil matters for indigent people in Ethekwini: a model for improved access to justice.”

[54] Street Law South Africa “About us” (undated), avalilable at: (accessed 2013-05-26).

[55] Barendrecht and van den Biggelaar

[56] Bhabha 2007-2008 Queen’s Law Journal 139.

[57] Holness, D., 2015. Doctor of Laws (LLD), Nelson Mandela (Metropolitan) University. Thesis title: ‘Coordinating free legal services in civil matters for indigent people in Ethekwini: a model for improved access to justice.” 301.