On 22 April 2024, ProBono.Org Durban hosted a Freedom Day event in collaboration with Norton Rose Fulbright, who graciously hosted us , and Garlicke and Bousfield. The purpose of the event was to encourage legal practitioners to take on pro bono work and to provide quality services to the poor and vulnerable. The event began with an inspiring keynote address from Justice Zak Yacoob who highlighted the importance of constitutional values in the legal profession, respecting the dignity of our indigent clients and the need to change our mindsets regarding race, gender and poverty. The speaker discussed what it truly means to be equal before the law.

This was followed by an insightful panel discussion which included Justice Yacoob, Judge Jappie, Advocate Andrea Gabriel and Sanelisiwe Nyasulu from Garlicke and Bousfield. The discussion focused on the challenges with pro bono matters within law firms and the perspectives of judicial officers when matters come before them. Emphasis was placed on the community’s need for legal education in a language they can understand so that they may access their rights. The speakers encouraged us to look at our democracy with gratitude as well as a sense of responsibility, to ensure dignity and equality for all.

This event reminded all legal practitioners in attendance of the importance of our constitutional democracy, our history and access to justice. Justice Yacoob reminded us all that “we are human first, human rights lawyers second and lawyers third”. In light of the above, we encourage private legal practitioners to join our panel and make a difference.

For more information on COVID-19 and government regulation: Click here