Title: How can Legal Aid Clinics be sustainable?

Lead Presenter: Franciscus Steyn Haupt

Co-Presenters:

  1. Aniki Grobbelaar

Session Abstract: Empirical research identified lack of financial sustainability as the single biggest threat to University Law Clinics in South Africa. Austerity measures, similar to those introduced in other countries, continue to impact negatively on the funding of clinical legal education and the provision of legal aid to the indigent -the core business of law clinics. In this paper we look in a very practical way at the strategies employed, steps taken and projects embarked on by the biggest clinic in the country to overcome the dependency on University and donor funding. These include both cost cutting measures and income generating projects such as innovative teaching and assessment methods, forming of strategic alliances, entering into co-operation agreements, conducting of paid for research and short courses for government, regulatory authorities and the private sector, and the increased involvement of alumni and the organised profession. It is hoped that by sharing the lessons learned along the way the paper can serve as a basis for an inter active discussion with delegates who will be involved in discussion of the problem of and solutions to financial vulnerability of clinics, ngos and similar organisations.

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