It is almost certain that at some point in your life, you will come into contact or conflict with the law. Whether you are protesting and facing potential arrest, lighting up a joint in Cape Town, or having to go to the Small Claims Court, it is important to know your rights. Most people are not legally trained however, creating a problem as most people do not have access to legal resources, or resources that are easy for non-lawyers to understand.
Two innovative students from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Wits University have revolutionised the way in which we can access the law, bringing it right to your pocket through their new mobile app, LegalMate.
Combining technology and law in order to bring out about greater access to social justice, LegalMate is a free legal information app that lets you know what your legal rights are. The app has categories for many different situations, ranging from explaining your rights and what to do in relation to drugs, to speeding fines, to reporting crimes, and many more.
Created by Jed da Silva and Michael de la Hunt, LegalMate has already achieved over one thousand downloads on the Google Play store, achieving a well-deserved rating of 4.9 out of 5. De la Hunt, a BA law student at Wits, stated to the Daily Vox that he and da Silva realised they didn’t know what to do if they got into trouble with the law and as a result decided to make an app to help them.
Working together with some high school friends to develop the app, they launched it on 15 August and are now looking for sponsors with the goal of expanding the app to include more categories (such as protection orders and domestic violence) and other South African languages to make the app more inclusive. De la Hunt noted importantly however that the app is designed to help you know your rights, not substitute professional legal advice from an attorney.
The LegalMate website establishes their mission as empowering all South Africans with legal education and knowledge; an admirable mission given how long the arm of the law is.
Be sure to check out LegalMate, download it, and tell your friends about it – know your rights!