The Genesis of Street Law in South Africa

David Jan McQuoid-Mason


In 1984, while Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Natal, during a visitor’s programme sponsored by the United States Information Service (USIS), I met Ed O’Brien of Georgetown University Law Faculty, Washington DC, a co-founder of the American Street Law programme.  I invited him to South Africa in 1985 and his trip was paid for by USIS.  It was an inauspicious time as President PW Botha declared a State of Emergency the day Ed arrived in the country to conduct non-racial Street Law workshops with me.  He and I brainstormed a curriculum with a multi-racial group of high school teachers and pupils and then persuaded the President of the Association of Law Societies, Graham Cox, with assistance from the Attorneys Fidelity Fund, to provide financial backing for a pilot Street Law programme for South Africa - the first such programme outside of the United States. 

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