Quintin du Plessis, a Director in the Real Estate Practice is involved with several pro bono projects overseen by ProBono.Org. At present he is a participant in the Johannesburg inner city law clinic. It is through this clinic that he offers legal counsel to victims of building hijackings, evictions and thefts, for example.
"At present we are involved in an interesting case involving a co-operative operating from landfill sites around the CBD. They sort and sell rubbish to recycling operations and have now been evicted. We are advising them in how best to regain their only source of livelihood.
A lot of what we do is about educating people who do not understand the legal system and have huge trust issues regarding the law. Often they just need to know that what is communicated to them via body corporates, landlords and independent third parties is in fact legally correct.
It comes down to counselling people on legal issues and what the law really stands for, that it is there to protect them."
The huge property drive in the CBD means many developers are buying and taking over buildings in the area. However, they take ownership of a building that people are living in without explaining the legal issues and repercussions to them.
All that is really required is a consultation so that everyone understands what is to happen next. Often huge legal battles develop out of this misunderstanding and it isn't necessary. So part of my work is about addressing the cause and not only the symptoms.
People's homes are extremely important to them, and when I can help them, it's hugely rewarding."
Quintin du Plessis, Director, Real Estate