History

The Law Clinic is situated in four Victorian cottages in Crozier Street. These cottages are heritage sites and forms part of a row of five semi-detached cottages that date from the late 19th century. In 1968, the oak trees in Crozier Street were proclaimed national monuments.

1975

  • On 2 March 1975, the Stellenbosch University Juridical Society (the Society), a law student representative body, submitted a written request to the acting dean of the Law Faculty. The Society requested approval from the Law Faculty for the implementation of a proposed legal aid scheme (the Scheme). The Scheme was aimed at providing free legal services to the community and to provide a limited amount of practical legal training to law students.
  • The Law Faculty approved the Scheme and it was implemented on 16 April 1975.
  • The Scheme was operated by senior law students who provided legal assistance under the supervision of legal practitioners from both the Law Faculty as well as from private firms outside Stellenbosch University. Services were initially provided one evening per week at a local school and focused on providing legal assistance to the coloured and black communities of Cloetesville. 

1978

  • The Stellenbosch University council approved the (partial) opening of SU to ‘non-white’ students for the first time, only for graduate students in courses which were not available to them elsewhere in the Western Cape.

1987

  • During 1987, the legal aid scheme transitioned into a fully-fledged Legal Aid Clinic. The Stellenbosch University Legal Aid Clinic operated under the auspices of the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University and now had its own offices from which clients could be assisted, located in Crozier Street. 

1988

  • 1988 saw the appointment of the first Director of the Stellenbosch University Legal Aid Clinic, Ms. Lutricia Roos, a qualified attorney. She was also the first female Legal Aid Clinic Director in South Africa. 

1995

  • In 1995, the Stellenbosch University Legal Aid Clinic also produced the first female qualified attorney to have completed her articles as a candidate attorney at a Legal Aid Clinic in South Africa. Previously, articles could only be completed at a private law firm.
  • 1995 also saw the relocation of the offices of the Legal Aid Clinic to the former Lückhoff School in Banhoek Road, at the heart of "Die Vlakte" (Afrikaans for “The Flats”),  which was the first Afrikaans secondary school for coloured children in the Boland. 

2018

  • In 2018, the Legal Aid Clinic underwent a name-change. The Legal Aid Clinic was renamed the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic to represent increased alignment with the actual business of the Clinic, which is not only concerned with the provision of legal aid, but also includes the conduct of clinical legal education and practical legal training.
  • In 2018, the Clinic also relocated back to Crozier Street, which is situated directly opposite the Law Faculty. The relocation has many advantages, including being situated in closer proximity to the Law Faculty and thus facilitating a sharing of intellectual and physical resources. It also makes the Clinic more accessible to the community that it serves (being situated in closer proximity to the taxi rank in Bird Street, thus enabling easier access for the Clinic’s clients).

 

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