Your Legal Rights

The Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa sets out a number of rights that every person possesses. Amongst these rights are:

• The right to equality
• The right to human dignity
• The right to life
• The right to freedom and security of the person
• The right to privacy
• The right to freedom of expression
• The right to security of property
• The right to housing
• The right to just administrative action
• The right to access to courts
• Rights when arrested or detained

These rights are often required to be enforced by litigation and this is where an advocate can assist. When engaging the services of an advocate (either directly or through an attorney), you have the right to:

• An honest assessment of the strength of your case and the prospects of success
• A quotation of the probable fees that will be incurred in representing you
• Protection of the confidentiality and privilege of all communication
• Ethical and professional conduct in all dealings with you
• Representation without fear or favour before any court or tribunal

You also have the right to a fair trial in any criminal or civil matter and by engaging an advocate you will ensure that this right is protected through his or her knowledge of the law and court procedure. You are in control of what the advocate does and you may instruct him or her, both before and during litigation, on the desired outcome. For example, an advocate may not accept a settlement proposal on your behalf unless you have consented to such acceptance.