Providing legal advice for the poor in South Africa is a concern which has come under the spot light in the past decade. Receiving legal advice in South Africa does not come cheap, which is ironic as the largest percentage of South Africans are in the lower to mid- income brackets. Another reason why it seems ironic that legal advice was not that affordable is because a large percentage of crime committed in South Africa is a direct link to poverty and all the ills which stems from that such as; house breakings, robberies, drug and alcohol related violence.
A backlog of cases which still need to be tried in court, are a constant headache for criminal justice system, the victims and as well as the accused. The lawyers who work for the State often have so much work to do that, giving their undivided attention to each case is something of an ideal. But it is not just them who feel the frustration of the criminal justice system being as it is. It is also the people awaiting trial or those who need legal advice in South Africa. Luckily legal advice can now be gotten for free if one has access to the internet. And for those who do not have access at their homes, there are always internet access points at public establishments such as libraries.
Once online, one simply has to do a quick search by entering keywords such as, ‘legal questions’ or ‘legal advice South Africa’ and you will have a wealth of information as where best to go to receive the help you need, for free There are many websites from different legal institutions and government associations. Each offering you legal tip and advice as well as opportunities for you to direct your questions directly to a lawyer. They will also advice you on which procedures to follow and who to contact. This in itself saves you from being redirected to a hundred incorrect people and departments. And because the legal advice is free you can even get advice from more than one institution. By doing this you can get a clearer idea and you can also cross-reference to see whether you were given the proper legal advice in South Africa.
Submit your questions
You will see that on many of these legal websites you have the option of submitting your questions to a lawyer. You simply need to state your case and add your contact details. A lawyer will then go over your question and respond to you in writing. This is the easiest and quickest way for you to obtain advice.
Another way is by calling the Legal Aid hotline. They offer the service of providing you will advice over the line. This would be the best option if you prefer to speak to someone in person, especially if you feel your situation is an emergency. This service is provided for people who fall into a certain income bracket. Mostly people who earn under five thousand rands a month.