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Free legal advice at grassroots

Serving at the first Free Legal Advice Day organised by the Law Society of Namibia are, from the left, Chris Tjivangerurua, Office of the Ombudsman in Keetmanshoop, Beatrix Greyvenstein, Law Society Councillor, Willem Liebenberg, Van Heerden Liebenberg law firm in Mariental, Stacey Bock, Manager: Professional Affairs at the Law Society, Alwyn Harmse, Law Society President, Babsie Jacob, Office of the Ombudsman in Keetmanshoop, John Walters, the Ombudsman, Eileen Rakow, Director in the Office of the Ombudsman, and Retha Steinmann, Law Society Director.

Serving at the first Free Legal Advice Day organised by the Law Society of Namibia are, from the left, Chris Tjivangerurua, Office of the Ombudsman in Keetmanshoop, Beatrix Greyvenstein, Law Society Councillor, Willem Liebenberg, Van Heerden Liebenberg law firm in Mariental, Stacey Bock, Manager: Professional Affairs at the Law Society, Alwyn Harmse, Law Society President, Babsie Jacob, Office of the Ombudsman in Keetmanshoop, John Walters, the Ombudsman, Eileen Rakow, Director in the Office of the Ombudsman, and Retha Steinmann, Law Society Director.

The first open day where free legal advice was available to any member of the public, was recently held in Keetmanshoop. Organised by the Law Society of Namibia in collaboration with the Office of the Ombudsman, legal practitioners in the South, and staff members from the Ombudsman’s Keetmanshoop office, the event was used as a pilot to test public response and determine the need for a legal clinic on grassroots level.
The Keetmanshoop event proved to be very successfull with dozens of people queueing to see one of the lawyers available on that day. Similar Free Legal Advice Days will be held in Oshakati on 12 September, Windhoek on 16 January 2015, Tsumeb on 20 February, Swakopmund on 17 April and Gobabis on 12 June next year. These events coincide with Law Society circle meeting where all legal practitioners of a town or regions meet to discuss issues of law administration.

The Free Legal Advice Day forms part of the Law Society’s objectives for 2014 to make legal services more accessible to those members of the public who struggle to afford a lawyer. In a statment issued after the first Free Legal Advice Day, the Law Society Council and Directorate expressed their gratitude to the Office of the Ombudsman and the members of the Law Society for their participation and support in making this project a success.

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