Another milestone for the UP Law Clinic as it celebrates its 35th year of existence

Posted on November 26, 2015

On Friday, 13 November 2015, the Law Clinic in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria (UP), commemorated its 35th year of existence. 

In an address given to mark the anniversary, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria Prof Cheryl de la Rey said: ‘From small beginnings in 1980, when the Law Clinic was founded by 13 law students as a voluntary service providing legal advice two nights per week to the indigent, disenfranchised people of Eersterust, it has grown into one of the flagships of the University’s Law Faculty, serving more than 4 000 clients per year.’ She said that an important aspect of the Clinic is that it fosters in students a sense of civic duty and a commitment to building a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. In addition to benefitting students, she said that the Clinic ‘enhances the University’s engagement in the socio-economic upliftment of the members of the community by providing access to justice’. In her address, Prof De la Rey referred to an exploratory foreign visit earlier this year during which she visited similar clinics at various universities in the UK. Based on these visits, she proclaimed that the UP Law Clinic is indeed a world-class institution.

The Director of the UP Law Clinic, Franciscus Haupt said: ‘Over the past three-and-a-half decades, the Law Clinic has taken pride in developing the knowledge, skills and values of final-year TuksLaw students through clinical legal education while providing access to justice to thousands of South Africans who would otherwise have been excluded from the legal system. This is certainly a legacy worth celebrating. The Clinic is a product of passion, dedication and the efforts of all those who, over the past 35 years, have contributed to its growth in their own special way. Today, the UP Law Clinic is arguably one of the finest law clinics in the world.’

According to the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof André Boraine, ‘the Law Clinic enshrines the concept of ubuntu (humanity to others) – ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’ – and as such accentuates the core values of the Faculty of Law and the University of Pretoria. Society can only benefit as a whole when legal aid is provided to the neediest and most vulnerable individuals in society and that is exactly what the Law Clinic has been doing for the past 35 years.’ He said he saw the Clinic grow over the last 30 years, ‘and rapidly so since the permanent appointment of Director Franciscus Haupt in 2000 – not only in terms of the number of clients, but also in terms of stature, confidence and impact’.

Over the course of its 35-year history, the Law Clinic has evolved to comprise approximately 40 attorneys and candidate attorneys, assisted by students, who provide legal services in both litigious and non-litigious matters from their offices in Hatfield, Mamelodi and Hammanskraal. In addition, the Law Clinic provides quality clinical legal education to final-year law students and opportunities for graduates to serve articles of clerkship. It is also increasingly involved in research and lobbying, influencing and informing government policy and private sector conduct.

Click here to access an electronic version of the Law Clinic's commemoration brochure.


- Author Elzet Hurter

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences