The Nelson Mandela University Law Clinic has been in existence for more than 30 years and, since the beginning of 2015, it has formed part of the Department of Criminal and Procedural Law of the Law Faculty. The law clinic is directed by Ms. Matilda Smith, with the assistance of two attorneys who are Dr. Marc Welgemoed and Prof. Hendrik Lerm . Other staff members include four administrative officials, four candidate legal practitioners and two interns.  The law clinic is a professional law firm and operates as any other regular law firm but the difference between us and other law firms it is that we are an entity of the Nelson Mandela University. The clinic provides legal services to impoverished areas of Nelson Mandela Bay and other surrounding areas. It is situated in Nelson Mandela University Missionvale Campus. The reason is that the clinic will be easily accessible to surrounding impoverished areas so that it can have a prominent role in community engagement.   

Here at the law clinic the primary goal is to ensure that the indigent receive justice that they deserve. In achieving this goal there is a para legal service that is conducted by final year law students and under the supervision of the Clinical Legal Education-facilitator, the operation is conducted on a weekly basis. Students are required to work at least one and half hour per week at the clinic as it is a  prerequisite for graduation .  Para legal interventions include the provision of advice and assistance to the indigent generally relating to domestic matters that include inter alia, writing of letters, completion of official forms and other necessary documentation. Students are also trained to draft formal legal documents, as well as to consult with clients and witnesses. This includes students consulting clients, approving letters and legal documents drafted by the students, as well as providing guidance to the students regarding consultations and adequate legal advice to clients.  In this way, a platform for practical learning, analysis and application of legal theory is provided to the students.  The students are also sensitized to the needs, problems, and expectations of their clients, who mostly are from the poorest and vulnerable parts of society. The students are further trained to act ethically and morally correct when handling cases and advising clients. 


As mentioned above, the law clinic also employs candidate legal practitioners. The Director, together with the attorneys employed at the clinic,  provide practical training to these candidate legal practitioners until they are ready to be admitted as attorneys. The Mandela Law has been quite well known to have trained many successful candidate legal practitioners, many of whom now are involved in private legal practice as attorneys some are practising as advocates and legal advisers for very well known established organizations. 

Therefore, it is without a doubt that the Nelson Mandela University Law Clinic is an essential and valuable entity of the university and community.