Michael Adams

Michael Adams YLIP Intern


I was placed at Legal Aid South Africa’s Cape Town Justice Centre. Legal Aid SA provides legal advice and representation for economically disadvantaged clients facing a range of legal issues including criminal, family, estate, labour/employment, contract, and tenancy issues. My job included conducting quick legal research projects and reviewing trial transcripts to determine the merits of a potential appeal. During my placement, I worked closely with substantive South African law including issues touching constitutional law, evidence, and criminal procedure. I found comparing South African and Canadian approaches useful in understanding both systems.

Working with the High Court section gave me exposure to serious high profile cases. I assisted in several murder trials including an application to have the accused determined not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

Legal Aid SA’s staff are friendly and willing to show you how things work. From my first day I was accompanying attorneys and candidate attorneys to their court appearances. I also had the opportunity to observe court proceedings of national political importance. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences in witness examination and judicial intervention. I also had the opportunity to visit several prisons in and around Cape Town.  This is a great placement for anyone interested in learning about substantive law and litigation practice in a fascinating context.