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ProBono.Org was founded in 2006 to provide legal assistance to the indigent and vulnerable through operating as a clearing house whereby it finds legal practitioners to take on clients’ civil cases such as divorces, deceased estate disputes, labour matters, etc. This model is unique in South Africa and means that thousands of people can be given advice or have their matters heard in a court of law. The aim of ProBono.Org is to provide access to justice to all who need it.
What We Do
Services to clients
ProBono.Org screens, matches and refers clients to volunteer private lawyers. These are some of our services…
Services to lawyers
ProBono.Org provides opportunities for legal practitioners to fulfill their pro bono obligations through referring clients for legal assistance.
ProBono.Org establishes links and builds bridges between the private legal sector and the public interest legal needs of the poor.
ProBono.Org – Commemorating World AIDS Day
This is ProBono.Org’s first video in a series of videos to better equip pro bono legal practitioners to advise and assist persons living with HIV/AIDS in realizing their human rights.
More ProBono.Org videos
Our Mission & Approach
ProBono.Org seeks to harness the vast, specialised resources of the private
legal profession to extend and enhance public access to justice. Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke endorsed the work and objectives of ProBono.Org at its formal launch at Constitution Hill in May 2007:
“There is a need for ProBono.Org like yesterday. The claims of the ordinary people are not reaching the Constitutional Court […] ProBono.Org is most welcome. These lawyers are doing great services […] The poor are not getting the fruits of the growing economy. Yes, the safety net may have increased but ProBono.Org needs to identify strategically that, which will advance the disadvantaged. If not, poor people know how to look after themselves. They will find other means. We have a duty to get them to use the measured means offered by the court. The legal means”.
The Johannesburg office is situated at Constitution Hill in Braamfontein. We have a staff complement of 12, which includes the National Director, a Head Staff Attorney, two legal advisers, two interns, an Operations, Grants and Communications Manager, a Financial Manager, an Office Manager, a Receptionist and a number of volunteers.
We operate a legal clearinghouse where we see clients on a daily basis and refer cases to our panel of pro bono attorneys where necessary. In addition, we hold legal clinics on matters relating to wills and deceased estates, refugees, labour law, housing, domestic violence, family law and consumer law. Click here for more information.
We also hold a number of workshops throughout the year, for both attorneys and communities. More information can be found here.
We also work with a number of NGOs and CBOs who refer cases to us.
We are committed to helping the poor and vulnerable and therefore in addition to the above we run specialised help desks as needed, for example during Women’s Month. We have a Wills project whereby we visit old age homes to run seminars for the elderly on the importance of having a Will and we draft simple Wills throughout the year for the elderly. We further assist informal street traders through our Umbumbano project and also formal traders. Lastly, education is key for the Durban office and we run numerous seminars for communities and legal practitioners on a variety of topics. Our network of stakeholders and partners is vast and that enables us to reach the most marginalised members of society.
ProBono.Org Cape Town acts as a legal clearinghouse and aims to provide pro bono legal assistance to indigent and marginalised persons through the private legal profession. In doing so, we aim to get attorneys and advocates on board to join our panel in order for us to send them instructions and briefs on areas of law in which they specialise or prefer. As such, we are one of the Cape Law Society’s recognised structures, and attorneys may elect to receive tailored pro bono instructions from our office instead. ProBono.Org will then track, record and report on pro bono hours to the Cape Law Society directly.
In addition, we aim to hold legal clinics and community workshops staffed by representatives from various firms on different legal issues such as deceased estates, family law, consumer law and housing matters, to name a few. These legal clinics and community workshops will be hosted at our offices and at other venues such as the Master’s Office, the Deeds Office, and various Magistrates’ Courts, thereby making access to justice realisable.
Furthermore, we aim to organise legal seminars conducted by attorneys or advocates to educate fellow legal professionals on areas of the law that may be unfamiliar to them.