07 August 2015 Volume :3 Issue :36

Access to Justice Workshops on Mandela Day

Access to Justice Workshops on Mandela Day
Mr Van der Merwe, Zinhle Nyembe, workshop facilitators, Law final year students and candidate attorneys at Luthuli Museum.

UKZN’s Law Clinic, in partnership with the Luthuli Museum, conducted access to justice workshops for the community of Groutville in Stanger on Mandela Day.

The workshops, held at the Luthuli Museum, saw final year students and candidate attorneys from the UKZN Law Clinic give community members free legal advice on issues such as family law, domestic violence and divorce.

UKZN Law clinic’s Supervising Attorney, Mr Eben van der Merwe, described the outreach initiative as a practical teaching and learning approach for candidates as they get to translate Street Law and Clinical Law theory into practice.

‘The students interview people and gather all the facts which are then presented to the law clinic attorneys for advice and presentation at the court. In essence, the programme provides legal services to members of the community who cannot afford legal aid as well as practical experience to Candidate Attorneys and final year students at the same time,’ he said.

Community members who attended the workshop said it gave them an opportunity to discuss their issues without fear, allowing them to get the help they needed.

Ms Zanele Mkhize of KwaMaphumulo said: ‘I will definitely spread the word!  Word of mouth is a powerful tool where I come from, and I will read the notes given to me and share them people around me so that they can benefit from the knowledge as well. I will also be tagging a lot of friends on Facebook so that they can be aware of such platforms.’

Mr Vusi Ntuli of the ILembe District Municipality applauded the UKZN Law Clinic team and the museum for putting together the programme. Ntuli, who found the workshop exciting, said programmes that aim at teaching communities were crucial for him. 

Final year Law student, Ms Bhavani Thanker, said the experience was an eye opener as people should not think that law was complicated and out of reach. She enjoyed the suggested topics and felt the programme was beneficial to the community.

The law clinic will also partner with the Luthuli Museum later this year in the Moot Court Competition where learners from high schools in KwaDukuza take part in mock trials.

Thandiwe Jumo and Zandile Nyembe

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