ATC110908: Report on Legal Aid Guide 2011 (12th Edition), including proposed amendments approved by the Board of Legal Aid South Africa, tabled in terms of section 3A(2) of the Legal Aid Act 2 of 1969
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the, Legal Aid Guide 2011 (12th Edition), including proposed amendments approved by the Board of Legal Aid South Africa, tabled in terms of section 3A(2) of the Legal Aid Act 2 of 1969, dated 8 September 2011.
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered Legal Aid Guide 2011 (12th Edition), including proposed amendments approved by the Board of Legal Aid South Africa, recommends that the National Assembly approves it.
The Committee reports further as follows:
1. Despite its role being restricted to either approving or rejecting the proposed amendments, the Committee would have liked an opportunity to apply its mind to the proposals. As mentioned in previous reports, the Committee requests that, in future, Legal Aid South Africa (LASA) make a draft of the proposed amendments available to it, so that it can do so informally.
2. In addition, the Committee wishes to raise the following concerns:
2.1. The means test is one way of determining who qualifies for financial assistance. The Committee, however, is concerned that the application of the test can result in some applicants not qualifying, despite their need for assistance. In particular, requiring an applicant to live in the house he or she owns in order to qualify could be unfair. The Committee acknowledges that there is an appeal process that takes into account a broad range of factors in addition to means but wishes to highlight the importance of ensuring that applicants, who are initially refused, are made aware of these further processes.
2.2. The Committee is concerned that there is no specific reference to the Child Justice Act in the Guide and requests LASA to rectify the omission in future amendments to the Guide. However, the Committee notes that LASA makes extensive provision for children in its existing policies and procedures: A child will never be refused representation.
Report to be considered.
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