‘We shouldn't be held liable for public hearings’

Legal Aid says it should not have been compelled to pay for the Marikana miners’ legal fees.

FILE: The Constitution Court. Photo: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Legal Aid South Africa says it should not be held liable for funding parties who are part of a public hearing or Commission of Inquiry.

A High Court ruled that Legal Aid had to pay for the representation of Marikana miners at the Commission of Inquiry, but it says this will now set a precedent for future cases.

Legal Aid's Gilbert Marcus has started arguing why the organisation should not have been compelled to pay for the Marikana miners' legal fees.

Marcus says Legal Aid is not seeking a refund for millions it has already paid, but says the High Court judgment has a wider implication.

"It has a profound impact we'd submit on the manner in which Legal Aid does business, in relation for example, to the powers of a court to intervene in its discretionary decisions."

Legal Aid is taking this matter to the Constitutional Court to clarify the law and to determine whether the court can interfere with its discretion when it comes to funding.