Free access to legislation for small law firms

February 1st, 2017

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

Sabinet is to provide small law firms in South Africa (SA) with instant free online access to SA legislation. Via their South African Legislation services (NetLaw), Sabinet provides users with instant online access to SA legislation. Managing director of Sabinet, Rosalind Hattingh, said in a press release that for smaller law firms with limited resources, one of the biggest financial commitments they face is information, moreover keeping up to date with frequent changes to legislation.

The statement added that law firms face challenges of managing cash flow, retaining and growing a client base, navigating the economic climate and staying up to date with their profession. In addition, they have to spend a lot of money on technology and access to information to enable them to stay abreast of ever-changing legislation in order to continue being able to completely represent their clients.

Sabinet already provides free access to SA legislation to over 300 small law firms nationally, via their Free NetLaw offering – an online system that covers updated and consolidated South African principal Acts from 1910 to date. Sabinet said their free access website is easy to navigate, quickly to access and contains all legal information any lawyer could need.

Sabinet Product Manager, Lynn Midlane, said it is crucial in the legal industry for lawyers to have access to updated, current and accurate legislation. She said there are many free websites where lawyers previously had access to this information, however, access is not the only important thing, but rather it is the fact that the information they are accessing is accurate and up to date so that they can provide the correct legal advice. ‘The free services are generally not updated or accurate, however, the users are not always aware of this and, therefore, they use the information not knowing that the information is outdated,’ she said.

Ms Midlane pointed out that legislation is the foundation of the legal profession, she said knowing the importance for lawyers to have access to correct information was Sabinet’s drive to start the initiative.

Ms Midlane said through the free online access, not only will lawyers get accurate and the most updated version of SA legislation, but they will also have access to the historical list of amendments to the Acts throughout the years.

For law firms to have free access to SA legislation through Sabinet, they have to meet the following qualifying criteria:

  • Comprise of three or fewer practicing attorneys.
  • The law firm’s fidelity fund certificates and annual law society subscriptions must be up to date and paid in full.
  • The law firm must already have Internet connectivity to be able to make use of this online legislation product.

Information about Sabinet’s free access to SA legislation can be found by contacting their client services at: (012) 643 9500 or e-mail:

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2017 (Jan/Feb) DR 10.

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