Volume: Volume 25 - 2021
Article type: Refereed article
Author/s: Dave Holness
Socio-economically, South Africa is a grossly unequal country. For the indigent there is a clear need for legal aid services to enable meaningful access to the legal system as a mechanism to promote greater social justice. This article proposes mechanisms to meet two aims: to promote high-level free legal service provision through much improved co-ordination between legal service providers; and to inculcate a co-operative and integrated approach to legal aid services for satisfactory standards of legal aid provision. This research has a qualitative focus in contrast to almost all research on legal aid in South Africa, which has concentrated on the expansion of legal aid services quantitatively- ie in terms of increasing the number of clients being assisted. If legal aid service provision is not of an adequate standard, it puts into serious question the value of the service delivery. A high quality and co-ordinated legal aid network is well positioned to act as a conduit for the realisation of legal rights and entitlements for a better standard of living for all. This article proposes various means for a more cohesive legal aid system in South Africa as well as the advantages which such cohesion would inevitably have for both legal service providers and those whom they serve.
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