Our oldest programme, Irish Rule of Law International has been conducting a Commercial Law Training Programme in South Africa since 2002. The programme was developed to provide lawyers from disadvantaged backgrounds with access to the highest quality of legal training and to overcome some of the structural inequalities that remained, post-Apartheid.
IRLI team visiting the South African Supreme Court, Johannesburg, 2017.
Success of the Programme
By partnering with Matheson and Cliffe Decker, Irish Rule of Law International has been able to make use of their technological support and provide the programme in online format, greatly extending its reach beyond its original scope. The training reached over 100 lawyers. With twenty-five volunteers, each lawyer-in-training benefited from more one-on-one feedback and mentoring than in previous years. In the coming years, IRLI hopes to continue the programme with the ambition of reaching more lawyers over a greater geographical area.
With little prominence given to commercial law during formal legal training in South Africa, and with little opportunity for lawyers from rural or disadvantaged backgrounds to break into the commercial law arena, participants in the programme have expressed sincere gratitude for the focus of this course on building confidence and knowledge. They have used the training as a springboard for expanding their practice or securing a better job. This has particular significance in isolated areas where lawyers can in turn use their knowledge to encourage greater contribution to the market economy and provide valuable legal assistance to local businesses.
With thanks to Matheson for its continued support of this programme.