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Pro bono

Pro bono (free) legal services by attorneys

Attorneys in South Africa provide 24 hours per year of pro bono (free) legal assistance to indigent members of the public on a compulsory basis. Pro bono is administered by the four provincial law societies where attorneys are registered.

How do you qualify for a pro bono (free) attorney?

To qualify for free legal assistance, a person must comply with a ‘means test’ (a maximum monthly or no income) and have a legal problem with merit.
You will be referred to an attorney by the law society who will assist you free of charge (pro bono).

If a referral is made to a pro bono attorney, the client is responsible only for the cost of disbursements (actual expenses), such as Sheriffs’ fees, and the attorney will not charge any fees for the work and legal services provided.

Services rendered in terms of the Pro Bono Scheme include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Civil litigation, which includes High Court as well as Magistrate’s Court litigation
  • Criminal litigation, which includes High Court as well as Magistrates Court litigation
  • Family law / matrimonial matters, including divorce matters, maintenance matters, primary care and residence and access
  • Labour law matters, including appearances at the CCMA or other bargaining councils as well as Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court matters
  • Deceased estates and related matters
  • Insolvency, including debt counselling
  • Property law and related matters
  • Constitutional matters
  • Contracts

Joint venture agreements have been entered into by the law societies with Legal Aid South Africa and ProBono.Org. These organisations can also arrange referrals on behalf of the Law Society.

Where do I find a pro bono attorney?

  • Click here for more information on pro bono services by attorneys in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo.
  • Click here for more information on pro bono services by attorneys in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape.
  • Click here for more information on pro bono services by attorneys in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Click here for more information on pro bono services by attorneys in the Free State.