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The British South African Lawyers Association (BSLA) is channelling its fund-raising activities to support the South African Legal Resources Centre. This takes on community-related legal disputes on a pro bono basis in addition to training lawyers.
The Legal Resources Centre is a nationwide, non-governmental organisation which relies on outside funding. It has to pay all its lawyers and the 20 trainees it takes on each year, an intake greater than that of any other legal organisation in South Africa.
The South African legal profession is dominated by white males. As well as providing pro bono legal work, the centre aims to redress this imbalance by widening access to groups which in the past have been under-represented .
Michael Polonsky, chairman of the BSLA, said: "Under apartheid, the law was regarded as a mechanism to hold South Africans down. Communities must now start to see the law as a protector of their rights. The centre provides access to justice through its lawyers, which is why we want to support it."