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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Resource for Justice; South Africa's Legal Resources Centre
Author:Andrews, Penelope
Periodical:East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:legal aid
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Education and Oral Traditions
Abstract:Within the overall context of apartheid, the combination of South Africa's common law tradition and the limited rights guaranteed by statute has provided a legal space wherein rights can be pursued. This is the space the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), a privately funded law centre established in 1979 with the specific aim of making legal assistance available to the poor, and to undertake public interest law cases, has utilized. The Beauty Duma case and the Driefontein land struggle illustrate the kind of work that LRC lawyers have engaged in. Although the work of the LRC did not transform South African society, or the legal profession, it contributed in a number of significant ways. It made government bureaucrats more accountable for their actions. It challenged the perceived invincibility of certain organs of the State, particularly the executive branch. It gave members of the legal profession an occasion to think about their professional role and status. It provided the space wherein public interest lawyers could develop appropriate approaches and tactics in their interaction with, and service of, disadvantaged individuals and communities. And lastly, it sent an unequivocal message to ordinary citizens that the law could be shaped to serve their needs and not merely to punish or oppress them. Notes, ref.