legal adviceAccess to legal help is not much of a reality for many South Africans, which is a reason that many of the poor and disadvantaged people find themselves in dire straits when such help is required.

There are many legal services that are available for a very low monthly fee, but even these costs are draconian for this sector of the population. They find themselves being taken advantage of by those looking for legal recompense.

Many of the legal specialists, much like the medical specialists, charge exorbitant fees which are unlikely to be met, leaving the vulnerable at their mercy.


There is free legal advice available, but this remains in the realm of ‘advice’, not action. Should there be court action involved, this would require far greater sources.

This is a litigious society

If it is possible that legal aid can be accessed, it should be taken out even if it means having to cut out something else. In this litigious society, it is a necessity rather than a luxury.

If the situation arises that legal help is required, it is advisable that a consultation with a lawyer is needed. That lawyer could advise that another one may be better at handling a certain case. If possible, investigate the matter thoroughly to ensure that unnecessary fees are not being applied.

Here are eight instances where legal assistance may be required:

  1. A divorce
    It could be complicated. If there are all kinds of issues regarding child custody, investments and property, legal representation would be required. If both parties agree on matters, obviously no legal assistance is needed.
  2. Termination of employment
    It is advisable that the CCMA be contacted immediately should it be felt that the termination was a result of discrimination or any other foul means. They will take the matter up and if there are valid grounds, a successful outcome is highly likely. However, a lawyer may still be required.
  3. When you are being sued
    If a substantial amount of money or property is the target of the suit. The other party would be solidly represented, so legal assistance is a must.
  4. Driving under the influence (DUI)
    This is a very serious charge and there is a law currently awaiting approval where jail is mandatory. As the law stands, the offender would receive a substantial fine and the car license removed for a certain period. For a second offence, incarceration is likely.
  5. Drugs
    If the offender is dealing in drugs, this is also a serious offence. Fines and incarceration are involved. Also, for a first-time user, there would probably be a more lenient sentence.
  6. Reckless driving
    The offender could be looking at incarceration, especially if the accident caused injury or death to the other party.
  7. Criminal charges
    The offender may not know what his or her rights are, and any criminal charge could carry hefty consequences.
  8. Wills
    This is often a cause of dispute and contention and numerous court cases. Always ensure that a will that is left with an attorney is air-tight and not open to family dissension.

The rule of thumb is if in doubt, and if possible, always seek the services of a lawyer.

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