Same-sex marriages concluded outside Namibia must be respected under the immigration laws

This consolidated appeal concerns two cases, both involving foreign nationals married to Namibians in same-sex marriages, which were jointly heard by a Full Bench of the High Court (the Full Bench) due to the similarity of the issues raised. The primary dispute revolves around the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration’s (the Ministry) refusal to recognise spouses in same-sex marriages validly concluded outside Namibia for immigration purposes (ie in terms of s 2(1)(c) of the Immigration Control Act 7 of 1993 (the Act)).
The Full Bench of the High Court determined that the Ministry’s practice violates the parties’ constitutional rights but found that it was bound by a decision of this Court in Immigration Selection Board v Frank 2001 NR 107 (SC) (Frank), which precluded it from granting relief to the appellants on constitutional grounds by reason of the doctrine of precedent reinforced by Art 81 of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has overruled this decision and the Apeal Judgment, full ruling and grounds thereto may be read here.
More on this case also on the Southern Africa Litigation Centre’s website.

Ncumcara Community Forest and Others // Reconnaissance Africa (PTY) LTD and Others

On 26 April 2023 the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism reserved judgement after hearing arguments for and against the decision by the Environmental Commissioner (EC) to amend an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) 0091 held by Reconnaissance Energy Namibia (Pty) Ltd (REN). Read more…

Appeal against RECON’s extention of Clearance Certificate lodged
Aggrieved parties  have lodged an appeal on 22 June 2022, in terms of section 50 of the Environmental Management Act, Act 7 of 2007, against the decision of the Environmental Commissioner who amended and extended the environmental clearance certificate, ECC 0091, held by Reconnaissance Energy Namibia (Pty) Ltd (REN).
Read more…

Press release

I refer to the recent statement made by the Minister of Justice, Ms Yvonne Dausab, as reported in a local newspaper, to the effect that the Legal Assistance Centre is no longer able to take on new legal matters.
The LAC confirms that at this point a lack of funding has given us no option but to curtail our activities, in particular in relation to litigation.
We welcome the Minister’s encouragement to Government to provide more funding for legal aid as well as the call for assistance from the legal profession. Pdf
Signed by the Director on 28 February 2023
Toni Hancox


Joy Bartlett was with the Legal Assistance Centre until her retirement.
She was much loved and she will be missed.

Condolences to her family and loved ones.

Probono 83 – Sustainable Forest Management and Responsible Logging
Members of a community forest have the legal responsibility to manage and utilize natural resources sustainably and for the benefit of the community. But persistent illegal harvesting of timber undermines sustainable management, causing resource shortages and serious community conflicts.

Probono 84 – Administrative bodies that govern communal land use: Are they all working towards the same goals?
When it comes to communal land people are often perplexed as to the relative powers, functions and duties of the various, seemingly competing, statutorily bodies that play a role in communal land administration, occupation and use. However, all of these bodies have a common objective that can be attained by harmonious co-operation between them.

Probono 85 – What did Parliament do in 2022?
January is always a good time to reflect on the past year. What laws were passed by Parliament in 2022? Here is an overview.  Parliament passed 16 statutes in 2022, with only three of these introducing new laws. The remainder were amendments or repeals of existing laws. Here a full review with links.
We thank the British High Commission for contributing funds towards the update of the databases on this site.

We also prepared a Code of Conduct page to enable the public be pro-active.

Showcasing our materials

The LAC was represented at the CIVILSOCIETY EXHIBITION AND NETWORKING EVENT held at the Gateway Conference Centre on 19 and 20 October.

And (to the right) explaining our databases Online with a PowerPoint presentation to download or to view here.

LAC attends NACSO week

As a member of the Namibian Association of CBRNM Support Organization (NACSO), LEAD attended the NACSO WEEK at the beginning of October 2022. The focus of the strategy meeting was on feedback by and to the members, establishing a training institution and the launch of the strategic plan for 2023-2026.
Read more here.

Probono 80 – Expungement of Criminal Records
When applying for a job or a visa to work or study abroad, a person may have to submit a Certificate of Conduct (also known as a police clearance certificate) to show that they have no criminal history. This certificate is issued by the Namibian Police after checking the individual’s criminal record, using fingerprints as a means of identification. It will disclose any past criminal convictions contained in records going back to shortly before the date of independence.

Probono 81 – Universal Basic Income Grant – Social Justice for all
A life of dignity is the cornerstone of our Constitutional democracy. All Namibians strive to live such a life, but many are unable to do so because of poverty and inequality. Poverty in turn leads to crime, gender-based violence and suicide – all of which have ripple effects throughout society.

Probono 82 – Are compulsory Pro Bono requirements for lawyers constitutional?
The Minister of Justice recently announced that the Ministry is considering amendments to the Legal Practitioners Act that would require legal practitioners (attorneys and advocates) to provide a minimum of 120 hours of pro bono (free) work each year for clients with limited means.

Positive teamwork in 2022
The SJP team met with the UNCHR delegation to discuss their ongoing collaboration in terms of which the LAC assists with legal advice and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Osire Refugee Settlement.

17 August 2022 – New Board Member
The Board of Trustees of the Legal Assistance Centre welcomes Ms Gladice Pickering as a new trustee from the 1st of July 2022.
Ms Pickering comes with a wealth of experience which the Board believes will add great value to its guidance of the activities of the Legal Assistance Centre.
Welcome Gladice! We are pleased to have you on board!
For more information on the board.

The Legal Assistance Centre regrettably advises the public that it can no longer accept new instructions at this point in time.
We are solely donor-funded and can only operate as per resources available.
We do still offer our screening service (sms – 0816000098, email or  in person) and we invite you to make use of same.  These services may respond to simple queries or may refer you to a relevant stakeholder who may be able to assist.

We remain committed to advancing human rights in Namibia.


As a member of the Action Coalition, the Legal Assistance Centre wishes to acknowledge the statement published on 16 May 2022. The excessive use of force in police action can never be condoned in a democratic society. The Legal Assistance Centre records its concern with the actions of the Namibian Police when responding to the protests in Chinatown on the 13th of May 2022…more

26 April 2022 –  The Ombudsman paid a courtesy call on the LAC

The Director of the Legal Assistance Centre, Toni Hancox, welcomed the new Ombudsman, Basilius Dyakugha, at the LAC offices.
“We congratulate the Ombudsman and look forward to collaborating with his office to ensure that all efforts are done to secure access to human rights in our country.
We wish you all the best in this role.  We know that you are up to the challenge!”

20 April 2022 – Presentation on Land Ownership by Foreigners
The LAC’s Uaraera Tjaveondja from the LEAD department gave a presentation to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Land.  The LAC was invited to respond to a petition submitted by the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) on 18 March 2019 calling for the regulation of land ownership by foreigners.

The LAC holds the opinion, that the proposed Regulation of Land Ownership by Foreign Nationals Bill canvasses prohibitions, restrictions and limitations on foreign ownership and utilization of commercial, urban, agricultural and communal land.
It is clear that the Bill is born from the well documented national crisis of landlessness and homelessness which needs to be urgently addressed.
However in so doing, one must safeguard against creating laws which duplicate existing laws and raise more questions than answers.
In a nutshell, the proposed Bill is a welcome addition to the discourse on accessing land rights, but needs significant refinement and re-consideration before it can be turned into law.

Here is our full presentation and here the live event.

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