9 December 2022 by , , , and Newsletter

Pro Bono & Human Rights Annual Newsletter

In 2011, as part of its commitment to being a good corporate citizen and to further its strong commitment to promoting access to justice and the rights and values in our Constitution, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc (CDH) set up a dedicated Pro Bono and Human Rights Practice (the Pro Bono Practice). Our mandate is to provide dedicated pro bono representation of the highest standard to deserving individuals, communities, NGOs and other organisations whose mandates include the promotion of human rights or the public interest.

The Pro Bono Practice began as a one-person practice based in Johannesburg, but since then has grown significantly not only in size, but also in profile, reach and impact. 2022 ushered in significant growth of our practice. At the beginning of the year our Cape Town representative Brigitta Mangale was promoted from senior associate to director, while Gift Xaba, an associate in our Johannesburg practice was promoted to senior associate. We also welcomed our newest member Elgene Roos, who joined our Johannesburg practice as a senior associate in May. Ours is now a truly thriving and vibrant practice which I believe is up there with the best, and of which I am proud to be a part and to lead. Perhaps testament to our growing impact and recognition are the awards we/CDH received at the 2021 ProBono.Org Awards hosted this January (2021), in which we won the large law firm of the year award for 2020, as well as several special mentions, including for our assistance provided to the Jose brothers in a long struggle to enforce their section 4(3) right to citizenship.

Despite the increase in our size, requests for pro bono assistance as well as CSR/developmental support grow by the day, and far exceed our capacity, or that of members of our firm from other practice areas, whom we encourage to assist in dedicating time to pro bono work. Accordingly, our goal is to increasingly forge relationships and partnerships with other role players in order to maximise our reach and impact, and to carefully consider how we best use our resources. While our aim is to assist those most in need as best we can, our objective is simultaneously to promote the rule of law and the enforcement of the rights and constitutional principles upon which our democracy was founded, and on which its continued existence depends. 

The cases and initiatives we have chosen to focus on in this newsletter highlight some of the best of our year’s work.

As always, I thank my dedicated team members, and colleagues in other practice areas who have contributed significantly to the firm’s truly impressive pro bono achievements during 2022. 

The Pro Bono Practice takes great pride and pleasure in reporting that, collectively CDH donated over 11,168 hours (in excess of R25,5 million) in pro bono legal services to deserving individuals, organisations and causes during 2022.

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