Equality before the law and access to justice in criminal proceedings under a bill of rights.
Nkutha, Mathobela Shadrack.
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This work seeks to critically examine the right to legal representation in the South African criminal justice system under a future constitutional dispensation. Extensive attention has been given to how the right to legal representation has been interpreted under the common law. Reference has been made to the united States 6f America's approach to the due process and equal protection clauses in shaping the substantive and procedural content of the right to counsel in criminal proceedings. The importance of legal representation is examined during the pre-trial, trial and sentencing stages of criminal proceedings. A brief comparative examination has been made of the right to legal representation in other foreign jurisdictions, and how the courts have dealt with indigent accused persons facing criminal charges. Proposals from different quarters in South Africa have been discussed in the hope that these proposals may still find a place in the country's final constitution. Finally, the practical implications of a qualified right to free legal representation as provided by the Interim South African Constitution is discussed. Suggestions are also made concerning the approach to be adopted by the courts in the face of judicial precedents which would be in conflict with a new value system under a Bill of Rights after 27 April 1994.