Legal Aid Bellville
Legal Aid is an independent body established as a result of the Legal Aid Act. The objective of this is to make legal representation available to all indigent persons at the expense of the State. This aligns with the South African Constitution, which states that every citizen should have access to justice. Legal Aid Bellville makes use of a means evaluation to determine whether someone qualifies for this representation.
This office is located near the Bellville Magistrate Court and provides legal assistance to hundreds of thousands of individuals annually. They strive to do so in an unbiased manner, with the primary intention of gaining justice and restoring public confidence. The aims of Legal Aid are to:
- Provide all individuals who require it with professional legal aid
- Offer legal representation at the State’s expense
- Give sound legal advice regarding rights and obligations
More about this service
Legal Aid’s primary goal is to provide professional legal advice and representation to individuals living in South Africa who are unable to afford it. A means test is conducted to determine whether you qualify. Alternatively, there is a clause that children involved in criminal cases automatically qualify for Legal Aid.
This service can be used for the following:
- Criminal cases: Where an individual is suspected of committing a criminal offence.
- Civil cases: Where a judge is required to make a decision regarding a dispute.
How does Legal Aid Bellville fulfil its mandate?
Individuals can access justice means through the local Legal Aid Bellville office. This office works similarly to a law firm, whereby applicants are able to visit and enquire about legal assistance. Each branch, including the one in Bellville, has a Head of Office, principal and supervisory practitioners, legal practitioners, candidate attorneys and paralegals. Services offered here involve advice, referrals and litigation.
Legal Aid has engaged in several cooperation agreements with leading universities and law clinics to provide further legal assistance to various communities.
Certain cases, often those involving groups of individuals taking legal action as one, require special legal representation. When these cases are taken to court and won, they have the potential to impact the country’s law significantly. At Legal Aid Bellville, they consider these cases strictly before funding can be made available. This fund is an essential feature against the backdrop of South Africa’s Constitution.
Over and above these methods, Legal Aid services continue to explore other ways that could be employed to sustain effective and efficient access to justice. As it is required, these service delivery methods will be adapted and replaced to reflect the changing context of various communities.