Public Interest Legal Services in South Africa (PILS) is a major collaborative research project conducted by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) which examines the critical role of the South African public interest legal services sector. The study considers:

  • the nature of the public interest legal services sector in South Africa;
  • the context in which it operates;
  • how the value and impact of the sector can be characterised and measured;
  • to what extent organisations within the sector coordinate their activities and collaborate with each other; and
  • what role public interest legal services play in expanding access to justice given the high cost of legal services.

The study was commissioned by the Ford Foundation and the RAITH Foundation, two of the biggest donors to public interest legal services in South Africa. The study has been published as a research report, executive summary and informational pamphlet, and makes important recommendations to donors and public interest legal services organisations based on its findings.

On this website, we share some of the key findings and recommendations of the research project and consider how these recommendations can best be implemented by the public interest legal services sector, with the support of the donors that fund them. The aim is to contribute to ongoing discussions and debates within the public interest legal services sector about the nature of the sector, how the sector’s value and impact can best be measured and the role of the sector in expanding access to justice.


The interactive map below identifies and locates the full range of public interest legal services organisations in South Africa. By clicking on each province you are given access to information about social justice organisations and community advice offices around the country. Key populated provinces include: Gauteng, Western Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape.

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