The Norton Rose Fulbright Public Interest Law team is celebrating a milestone ten years’ involvement in legal challenges for those without the means to be adequately represented.
They work on matters including human rights violations, fighting for LGBT rights, sex worker employment conditions, land restitution, the drafting of wills, assisting with the application of domestic violence protection orders and helping refugees achieve refugee status.
In addition, the team educates learners on the South African Bill of Rights, regularly runs legal education workshops for entrepreneurs and various legal helpdesks and pro bono projects to assist communities in need of legal advice. During the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, from 25 November to 10 December, free legal counsel is given to victims of domestic violence at the family court helpdesk at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.
In collaboration with the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC), the team was awarded PILnet’s Local Pro Bono Impact Award for representing CASAC in its intervention challenging the Cabinet’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). The team is also litigating on behalf of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the 3000-household community of Klipgat C following the municipality’s continued failure to deliver sufficient and adequate water to the community. It is being used as a test case for the right to water in terms of section 27 of the Constitution.
The District Six Working Committee and its 2500 members, represented by the Norton Rose Fulbright Public Interest Law team, is seeking to compel the Government to provide restitution to the claimants of District Six who were forcibly removed from the area in the 1960s. The restitution process has remained unsatisfactorily resolved for 26 years, in breach of section 237 of the Constitution, which provides that all constitutional obligations (of which restitution is one) must be performed diligently and without delay.
The team, with ProBono.Org, is committed to giving refugees the legal help they need, as well as training lawyers to provide legal assistance. They were involved in the publication of three Practitioners Guides to Refugee Law to equip lawyers help refugees free of charge, either independently or through ProBono.Org’s refugee clinics.
The team has recently been acknowledged with three international and two local industry awards, including the Wills Award from ProBono.Org recognising their significant contribution to educating people in townships about wills, and drafting wills for them.