Wits Legal Clinic
The clinic does not help in criminal cases, traffic accident funds (RAF) and probate cases, Dass said. But he added that people are pointing in the right direction. The clinic covers issues related to divorce, custody, guardianship, labor disputes, civil cases, evictions and unlawful arrests. It also has a Department of Refugee and Migrant Affairs. Wits Law Clinic strives to be a leading and capable teaching hospital, recognized nationally, regionally and globally for excellence in teaching, professional service, research and innovative collaborative partnerships. Anyone entering the clinic will at least leave the legal clinic, even if a file is not open, with a sense of clarity or direction regarding their legal case. What started as a small law firm has now grown into one of South Africa`s largest legal clinics. Today, Wits Law Clinic is one of the largest legal clinics of its kind in South Africa and is known for its work. The Wits Law Clinic has repeatedly acted in precedents, some of which have been reported in South African Law Reports and supports the public with legal advice and pro bono representation. It is staffed with practitioners and students. „The clinic is a fusion of classroom and practice,“ said clinic director Daven Dass.
Every year, young insiders die needlessly at the hands of illegal operators. Alicia Raymond, coordinator of the PLS course, explains that students are divided into six specialized units: general, family, labor, refugee, property and tort. The units deal with civil matters, guardianship and divorce, labour matters, undocumented migrants, property matters and personal injury. The units are led by supervisors who are licensed lawyers and lecturers at the Faculty of Law. This means that students are also guided by the advice of lawyers, who then ask them to draft and submit the relevant documents. Raymond says the clinic admitted 405 students this year last year. All services of the clinic are pro bono. Legal assistance is available to clients who meet financial support requirements. Last year, Wits law students began to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life cases by consulting with members of the public at the Wits Law Clinic since Tuesday, April 6, 2021. This comes after some adjustments were made by the Wits School of Law to allow their students to complete the compulsory course of practical legal studies (also known as PLS flight) through the clinic. While he acknowledges that clinicians at the facility are „exceptionally overwhelmed,“ Dass remains confident that the course enhances students` counselling skills and ultimately prepares them for the real-world work environment. He adds that the success rate of the PLS flight is not based on the number of cases won, but on the professional advice of customers.
Lilitha Nxiweni, a final-year student, commented on her experience as a consultant, saying she was sad that she couldn`t help a client, but that „it comes with work.“ Another student, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was shocked by the backlog in cases since she admitted an open case to the clinic in 2017. The University of the Witwatersrand Legal Clinic has been in existence for over forty years. It started as a small counseling center with the help of students who participated on a voluntary basis. In 1989, the Practical Legal Studies course became a compulsory course for all law students in their final year of study. Wits Law Clinic`s real estate supervisor, Mbavhalelo Mmbadi, (left), advises final year students Maseeha Arbee (centre) and Lilitha Nxiweni (right). Photo: Nondumiso Lehutso. Prof. Philippa Kruger talks about marriage fraud on SABC TV FEATURED IMAGE: Law students Aleena Mughal and Gabriel Lidchi last year before talking to their supervisor about their case. Photo: Nondumiso Lehutso Aleena Mughal (right) advises her client in the newly built cabins of the Wits Law Clinic.
Photo: Nondumiso Lehutso. The Wits University Law Clinic has been in operation for over 40 years.