Fifty-two percent of people living in South Africa’s rural areas are unemployed, and 32 percent of households in these areas depend on government support as their main source of income. These people do not often have access to the legal justice system.
In many cases, the LRC has been the only organization able to provide basic legal assistance to poor and marginalized South Africans, educating people about the law, supporting advice offices in remote rural areas, and training paralegals to work in advice offices.
The LRC’s Access to Justice work includes
- Front desk service, which provides assistance to walk-in clients and helps the LRC to identify cases with potentially significant impact on the law and justice in areas on which the LRC focuses;
- Direct legal representation on a wide variety of issues, such as pension and insurance inquiries, consumer protection cases, unemployment insurance claims, workers’ compensation claims, and placement of children;
- Information sharing and networking with organizations involved in public interest law and paralegal work, including community advice centers, the South African Legal Aid Board, and university law clinics;
- Training and legal support for remote advice offices, which often lack telephones, fax machines, and even stationery; and
- Workshops on such issues as HIV/AIDS, paralegal practices, and administration of guardians.
Read an LRC booklet, Know Your Rights – Domestic Violence