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The Black Lawyers Association stands for the profession's economic justice and for the transformation of the judiciary. The organisation's focus is that of empowering the black lawyer however the organisation is non-racial and membership is open to all those who believe in what it stands for.
History and Background
The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) is a voluntary association of black lawyers in South Africa. It co-exists with statutory bodies governing the legal profession. The BLA was formed in the 1970ís for the purpose of resisting prosecution of black lawyers who practised law in the Central Business Districts (CBD) of the so-called white towns. No black lawyer was allowed to practise his or her craft in these towns as this contravened the famous Group Areas Act No.35 of 1966, a mean piece of legislation that regulated where South Africans should live and work.

This was, however, not the only problem faced by black practitioners of the day. They also encountered problems in procuring articles of clerkship and securing finances to set up law practises. In addition, they faced discriminatory treatment in the courts and other government institutions.

Some forty black lawyers in the then Transvaal came together to discuss their common plight. From this discussion emerged the idea to form the Black Lawyers Association. Until 1980, when its formal constitution was adopted, the BLA took up other matters of concern on an ad hoc basis.

The strategic aim of the BLA at that time was, inter alia, to expose and highlight the discriminatory and unjust laws and to increase the number, and enhance the quality of the black lawyers in South Africa. Members of the association sacrificed their time and resources to achieve these objectives on a voluntary basis