Whether it’s through our own fault or as a result of someone else’s negligence, an encounter with the law is inevitable for most of us. And while every case is different, it usually causes a lot of stress and anxiety and can be quite the financial burden as well.
The fact is, the law is notoriously inaccessible in our country and most South Africans cannot afford the services of a top lawyer. With the unemployment rate just under 28%, it is easy to see why the law is unaffordable for many. This is where legal aid and legal cover come into play. We take a look at both and explain what the biggest differences are.
What is Legal Aid?
Because our Constitution stipulates that access to justice is a right for all South Africans, it mandates that Legal Aid South Africa must help the poor with tax-funded legal assistance, and they determine whether or not someone qualifies for free legal assistance by using “The Means Test”, which essentially looks at what someone earns to ascertain if they will take on a case or not.
Legal Aid for individuals and households.
If you are employed, you must earn less than R5,500 per month after tax has been deducted.
If you live with other people for more than 4 nights per week, and these other people share in the cost of food and other costs, then Legal Aid will look at your total household income. They will only give legal aid to households that earn less than R6,000 per month. Again, Legal Aid will only look at the amount that the household receives after tax has been taken off.
But while “legal aid” is a reasonably known term, not many South Africans are familiar with legal insurance cover, which, depending on the company you choose, comes with various benefits.
Legal Insurance Cover in South Africa.
Many people take out various insurance policies- car, household etc.- to cover them in case anything that can put added financial strain on them happens. Unfortunately, legal insurance cover isn’t top of mind for most, and an unexpected run-in with the law can be devastating for many South Africans.
In a nutshell, legal insurance cover is a specialised insurance product that covers the fees and expenses involved in legal disputes for a monthly premium. After signing up for a legal insurance policy, a client will be able to contact a lawyer for unlimited legal advice (telephonically or face-to-face) related to civil, family, labour, or criminal matters. Most policies also cover the costs of having a lawyer represent the client in court (litigation) or out of court (mediation).
LAW FOR ALL’s legal insurance cover policies offer clients real value for money. Our monthly premiums won’t break the bank and range from R109- R239 per month, providing litigation cover of between R110 000 – R240 000 per year (depending on the policy, of course). What’s more, policies protect the whole family – spouses and children – giving added peace of mind. What’s more, policyholders receive access to a 24hr emergency line, unlimited legal advice, negotiation and legal assistance. Of course, LAW FOR ALL also represents clients should they need to go to court.
For a comprehensive look at that ins and outs of LAW FOR ALL’s legal insurance cover benefits, take a look at Why Legal Cover is Essential.
Don’t feel powerless!
South Africans should not feel powerless and excluded from the justice system. There are free and affordable options for legal representation, and it is incredibly important to know what your rights are and that someone can help you fight for them. Get the law on your side! View our affordable policies.