Criminal cases

Criminal cases

Some of the common law offences covered by Legal Aid South Africa include:

    • Abduction
    • Arson
    • Bigamy
    • Fraud
    • Incest
    • Housebreaking
    • Indecent assault
    • Public Violence
    • Murder
    • Rape
    • Robbery
    • Sedition
    • Treason

Some of the statutory offences covered by legal aid include cases relating to:

  • Administration of justice
  • Animal and nature conservation
  • Children
  • Corruption
  • Counterfeiting currency
  • Dealing in unwrought precious metals and uncut gemstones
  • Escaping from custody and/or obstructing the police
  • Vehicle theft
  • Witchcraft
  • And any attempt to commit the above.
  • Administering poison or other noxious substances
  • Assault (including common assault)
  • Bribery
  • Compounding
  • Defeating and/or obstructing the ends of justice
  • Extortion
  • Forgery and/or uttering
  • Kidnapping
  • Malicious injury to property
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Theft (including shoplifting)
  • Trespass
  • Unnatural sexual offences (including bestiality)
  • Persons with mental disabilities
  • Any attempt to commit any of these listed statutory offences

Legal aid is not necessarily available for criminal defamation, public indecency and contempt of court. JCEs have a general discretion to grant legal aid in these cases where resources permit and where the JCE is convinced that the accused will experience substantial injustice if not legally represented.

Some examples of cases we assist with:

  • You want to appeal a conviction or sentence;
  • You are being abused by other inmates in prison;
  • You have been wrongfully arrested or assaulted by the police;
  • Legal representation to section 204 witnesses;
  • Legal representation in extradition cases.

All Matters not listed as included are excluded from Legal Aid subject to the JCE discretion. Matters not covered include but are not limited to:

  • Criminal defamation
  • Public indecency
  • Contempt of court
  • Traffic Offences
  • Failure to render tax returns
  • Inquest matters

JCE discretion: Where an offence is not listed as INCLUDED, discretion to provide legal aid where substantial injustice would otherwise result taking into account the following factors:

  • The simplicity or complexity of the case in law and in fact, including imposition of sentence;
  • The gravity of the case, which depends on the nature of the charge against accused and possible consequences of conviction.

If you have a criminal case that you need legal help with, we suggest that you:

  1. First see if you qualify for legal aid; 
  2. If you feel you do, then Contact us  and an advisor will guide you on the way forward.