Court of Appeal ruled in favour of us!

Liberty Fighters Network (LFN) is proud to share that on Friday, 13 December 2019 a Full Court of three judges of the High Court in Johannesburg sitting as a Court of Appeal upheld our appeal against an earlier ruling to execute an eviction order against 6 families resident in a block of flats in Johannesburg while we had appealed a March 2019 ruling to the Supreme Court of Appeal granting their eviction still awaiting adjudication.

This Court of Appeal ruled that it was unjust for a judge to have authorized the eviction pending the appeal without having done an inquiry into the possible homelessness of our members and their families also taking into consideration the long periods our members have occupied the property already and that obtaining accommodation in Johannesburg is very difficult.

The other question that was raised, which LFN is busy actively addressing, is the right of an association to represent its members without using formal legal representation. The Court of Appeal has also referred the accusations of the advocate for the landowner that LFN and myself are transgressing the Legal Practice Act by purporting to be legal practitioners while we are not, to our National Prosecuting Authority for investigation which we believe will finally proof that those unfound allegations are vexatious and that we have a right to appear on behalf of our members in any Court while we don’t expect any remuneration for our services.

This was a great victory for occupiers of land being harassed by our Courts lately and finally, we can say that we are optimistic and have hope in our Courts to be fair in the future if we are just afforded an opportunity to be heard.

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Hello @ReynoDB, Thank you for this interesting post. What happened after the court decision? Were the families accommodated with a decent housing? Have a great day, Alexandar

Hi. The families are still in occupation of the property pending the main appeal to our Supreme Court of Appeal. In SA an appeal stays the execution of a Court order until it is finalised, like in most Western countries I believe.

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This is such encouraging news !!! Welll done

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Good morning, I am interested to follow the development of this case. When you expect the final decision of the court? Have a nice day. Alexandar

Morning…

Yes, this case has become a very interesting Court case in more than one way. Not only has our country’s eviction legislation been pushed to the edge, but the right of occupiers of land to be represented by a non-legal practitioner has also been challenged extensively where South Africa is still very much reliant on the tradition that a person may only be representing himself/herself or be represented by an admitted legal practitioner in our Courts.

We have managed for the first time in our country’s history to get our High Court to allow occupiers of land as our members to be represented by myself who is not a legal practitioner (yet I have 26 years legal experience and knowledge). This has sparked various debates in activist and legal circles and seemingly in the Court of Appeal the three judge bench tried to rectify the “mess” made by two previous judges in this case who both allowed me to appear on our members’ behalf, by disallowing me to argue the appeal before them due to the fact that I was not registered as a legal practitioner and the two judges made a mistake to have allowed me before.

Besides the pending appeal before our Supreme Court of Appeal in the main eviction matter, we are also now going to file an appeal against the ruling of the Court of Appeal for disallowing me to appear before the full Court on appeal and making an additional ruling that our country’s National Prosecuting Authority must investigate whether we have transgressed the Legal Practice Act, 2014 or not. There is absolutely no merit in that criminal investigation, because not only don’t we charge any remuneration to our members as an NGO for our services but even two judges allowed me to represent our members in Court de facto approving our right to have represented our members.

Our main aim is to get either the Supreme Court of Appeal or our Constitutional Court to give the thumbs up that anyone who is not a legal practitioner may represent anyone in court as long as such a person doesn’t charge any fees for it, except in the cases of criminal matters where our Constitution stipulates that one may only be represented by a legal practitioner where one is provided to an accused on state expense in case one can’t afford one oneself. We want to bring an end to the monopoly our legal fraternity has over our country’s courts in especially civil matters in order to make our courts more accessible for everyone to get justice. That is basically the method of the madness in the current eviction case.

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Good afternoon and thank you very much for your thoughtful email, When we arrived in Canada in 2015 with my family I was aware about the barriers for the foreign trained lawyers to resume their careers here. I did a lot of research and when I started to look for a job I decided that being a lawyer is not in my agenda. I studied and became a Law Clerk but even with this much lower entry level position is very hard to have a permanent job. So I decided to network and to open and broaden my job search. Specifically I am interested with the social aspect of the law and with the technological changes with completely transformed the legal industry. I read that in South Africa there are many advanced law companies which work a lot about making the law more accessible to the poor. The access to justice is difficult in Canada and this made me to look for organizations which have a notable purpose to help the most vulnerable people. And this is how I found Namati. So you have been working in the legal industry? I was a lawyer and a notary public for 20 years in Bulgaria. Please stay in touch. Warm greetings, Alexandar

Hello Reyno, How are you? Hope you are doing well! I have a friend who lived in Swaziland for a long time. Do they have a different jurisdiction? Alexandar

Hi. Swaziland is a Kingdom and therefore much different in the way of operation. One of the smallest countries in the world, but we seldom hear anything wrong with them.

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My friend is doing a business there and he travels to Swaziland every now and then. Probably the country is connected with South Africa and relies on her help.


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