Community Paralegals Fight for Recognition in South Africa’s Legal Practice Bill

Below is an official petition calling for the inclusion of community-based paralegals in South Africa’s Legal Practice Bill.  The South African Government’s Legal Practice Bill was put out for public discussion and comment in May 2012; the Bill in its current state excludes community based paralegals. 


(1) The Legal Practice Bill [B12-2012] must include equitable & justifiable regulation, recognition & formal integration of Community-Based Paralegals into the formal justice sector.

(2) The Department has removed all references to paralegals in the Bill, which were present in the first working draft.

(3) Given the central role Community-Based Paralegals have in enhancing access to justice for the poor and vulnerable, it must be of great concern to all citizens, that they have yet to be recognised as legal practitioners. This will continue to have an adverse impact on access to justice and the sustainability of the Community Advice Offices.

(4) Given that government has a primary responsibility to ensure access to justice for the poor and vulnerable, government ought to take steps to ensure the sustainability of the Community Advice Office and Community-Based Paralegal sectors

To pledge your support and sign the petition, please click here.

August 2, 2012 | Namati