You may be looking for a template to write a demand for payment letter, a rental agreement for letting an apartment or a child travel consent form - and found our site. Welcome!

There are so many instances where people require a legal document and have neither the need nor the budget for consultation with an attorney.

And That's How the Free Legal Document Project Came About

In 2004 we recognised the increased ability of people to access information online and quite simply, we wanted to have a presence on the World Wide Web where we could cater to these people.

free legal document header 2004 free legal document header 2007
Site headers in 2004 and 2007 respectively.

We also wanted to offer the content at zero cost to you, our site visitor, and we have indeed been doing so ever since. (We reckoned there would be opportunities to make the site pay for itself at some point in future - more about that in a minute.)

Our primary focus is to supply you with legal content that is:

  • Unbiased and especially non-discriminatory or infringing on the rights of either party entering into an agreement. Furthermore, to do so in simple terms so everyone has a clear understanding as to what they are signing up for and in fact agreeing to;
  • Factual - because we understand the importance of the information we are providing;
  • Pertinent - because of the input and contribution of professionals who utilise the legal templates presented here on a daily basis, in a variety of personal and business situations.

We encourage you, our readers, to use our free legal documents as templates when the situation does not require consultation with a lawyer or when doing so may not be within your budget, for example:

  • Having a formal agreement in place when selling your car or lending money to someone;
  • Compiling an affidavit or making your wishes known in an advance health directive; or
  • Granting temporary guardianship of your child to a family member or friend, or empowering a trusted person in a power of attorney to act on your behalf; and for many more instances.

However, we always stress that our site content is not a substitute for legal advice!

But we still encourage you to use our templates and legal guidelines to know and understand what you need to achieve and thereby streamline your thoughts so you can get the most out of your time during your legal consultation and ultimately get what you want.

16 Years on - Why do we still offer our legal information and templates at no cost? Two main reasons really...

  • Because it gives us joy! Reading the positive feedback in the comments and emails from our site visitors on a daily basis telling us how our content was of help to them, simply makes our day.

    Further, when we see our articles referenced in educational publications and on reputable websites we feel truly honoured, and the accreditation is an affirmation of the quality of our content.
  • This site is owned by the Huckleberry Family Trust and we hope to build a legacy which will endure long past the energy levels / lifespan of the current custodians.

As seen on:

Forbes HuffPost

Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University University of the People, Pasadena, CA

Extracts of our articles published with permission granted to Oxford University Press Southern Africa in the following textbooks, which forms part of suggested academic materials for a number of educational institutions:

The Law of Commerce in South Africa

The Law of Commerce in South Africa
Originally published: 2009 ISBN-13: 9780195985825
Second Edition: ISBN-13: 9780199054732

Kommersiële Reg in Suid-Afrika

Kommersiële Reg in Suid-Afrika
2012 First edition
ISBN-13: 9780195985795

A number of our articles are referenced on:

Reddit legalbeagle

Meet Our Legal and Collaborative Team

No points for guessing how the name of the Trust came about.

Matthew Sawyer (LLM)

Matthew Sawyer

Matthew earned his Master of Laws degree specialising in Intellectual Property Law.

His Master's thesis was published in The South African Law Journal, South Africa's premier law journal. It is made up of articles, notes on cases and book reviews by prominent members of the legal profession and academics.

Founded in 1884, it is the oldest law journal of its kind in the world.

South African Law Journal

The South African Law Journal 2019 Vol 136 Part 4

The challenging relationship between contemporary art and copyright by Matthew Sawyer & Sadulla Karjiker

How we go about drafting our legal agreements

Compiling legal documents is as much about making provision for the legal clauses and recitals that are standard in most contracts ("legalese") as it is about understanding the needs of the parties entering into the agreements and making provision for their circumstance.

And this is where the input of people who have been using and constantly editing these documents for personal and business use have been invaluable.

David Sawyer and Antoinette Sawyer

David Sawyer Antoinette Sawyer
  • Landlords of multiple types of properties for many years, ranging from short-term holiday rentals to corporate rentals and long term lets of freestanding homes. Dealing with tenants ethically and legally and having the relevant lease agreements and landlord forms is at the crux of being a landlord.
    We share this experience with you through our legal guidelines and real estate contracts.
  • Employers of dozens of employees over time and having to deal with every aspect that involves employment.
    From the interview stage through termination of employment and following due legal process throughout, we provide templates to assist you in your business.
  • Having been a Managing Director of an engineering company provided years of experience overseeing legal contracts both locally and internationally.
  • Being one of the top 5 franchisees in the retail sector for the past 20 years and serving on the Franchise Advisory Council for part thereof, provides experience in the usage of Trademarks (including other types of Intellectual Property) and all matters concerning employment as well as dealing with commercial leasing.

Guy Sawyer (MEng)

Guy Sawyer

Guy works as a software engineer with a degree in Electronic Engineering.

Guy is currently employed as an Android Native Developer and whilst most of his dealings are not necessarily legally related, his input is vital to the maintenance of the site and its presence on the Web.

Legal Experts and Contributors

Owen Salmon SC

Owen Salmon

Owen has been practising as an advocate since 1992 (and as an attorney for 8 years prior to that) and is a Senior Advocate (SC) at the Johannesburg Bar. He is an intellectual property specialist. In this field, and in contractual restraint of trade disputes, he has represented clients since 1984, litigating in all divisions of the High Court, the Commissioner of Patents, the Registrar of Trade Marks, the Copyright Tribunal, the Advertising Regulatory Board, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the Constitutional Court.

As a Senior Adjudicator on the panel of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law for domain name disputes, Owen has delivered numerous seminal judgments both as a single and as an appeal panellist. He has served as an acting Judge in the High Court. Visit Owen Salmon for further referencing.

Owen has published several articles and papers on matters relating to IP Law and his book Intellectual Property Made Simple, being published by Siber Ink Publishers is due for release in January 2021. His work Law Made Simple - Compliance for Business, Citizens and for our Government is available in print form from bookstores nationwide and online. It is also available as an open resource at Lawful Living. This was the title of the first edition and which was honoured with an endorsement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu:

"This book on lawful living sets out what our beautiful country expects of its citizens. It should be read by everyone, young and old - and things might just change!"

Law Made Simple

Law Made Simple - Compliance for Business, Citizens and for our Government presents a compilation of the provisions tucked away in nearly 300 South African statutes, which lay down the law for compliance - whether in business, at home, or by Government.

The provisions have been rewritten in plain language. They are neatly arranged into areas of commerce, industry and everyday life and can be found quickly - and understood.

It is an invaluable resource for professionals, businesses, law-enforcement agencies, and all citizens: in other words, those who want to stay compliant - or hold accountable the government, their municipality, their neighbour or their competitor.

Owen has contributed to the intellectual property content on our site: patents, trademarks, copyright and designs.

Nathaniel E. Spitler (B.S., J.D.)

Nathaniel E. Spitler

Nathaniel is a Managing Partner at Spitler Huffman, LLP. His practice areas include Wills and Trusts, Probate and Estate Planning, Dissolution, Real Estate, Bankruptcy, Medicaid.

Admitted to Bar: 2006, Ohio and U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio.

Since its founding in 1936, Spitler Huffman, LLP has been serving the needs of Northwest Ohio and beyond.

Nathaniel has contributed to the estate planning content on our site: State specific requirements for a Last Will and Testament.

In which countries are our legal documents valid?

We do get this question asked on occasion and the answer is simple - The templates for an affidavit, or power of attorney or a last will and testament etc. follow a standard layout, which is accepted in most jurisdictions.

The legal execution (the formalities for the signing thereof) may differ - whether you need two or more witnesses, or need to have it notarized or filed with any institution.

Wherever possible, we either provide country/state/province specific legal guidelines, or links to government resources to assist you, so as to ensure your document is legally valid.

As to the legal requirements for any other contract - it needs to record (as is the case on our site) in writing what two (or more) parties with legal capacity are agreeing to and they must sign their acceptance thereof. Furthermore, there must be an exchange of value and it must be clear that all parties intended to enter into a legally binding contract in the first place.

And that holds true in every jurisdiction.

Our aim is then to ensure our documents comply legally and to word it as plainly as possible in the templates we provide here.

However! Although this is very much a self-help legal resource, if you are not sure about the legal requirements in your jurisdiction then you can still use our forms as we recommended earlier: to do your preparation before consulting with a lawyer, or to draft your agreement and then have it reviewed by an attorney.

And now to the money aspect. Yes, we do earn an income from our site.

Again, at no cost to our site visitors.

We feature sponsored advertising on our site, as do the New York Times, National Geographic, Forbes and most other publications - whether online or in printed format, and without such income we simply would not be able to carry the ongoing cost of web hosting and publishing evergreen content.

So what makes the Free Legal Document Project different?

There are a myriad legal sites that offer free legal forms and templates - we've had our fair share of copycats and copyright infringers too - and we've seen a number of them come and go.

As you may have seen by now, we don't always take ourselves too seriously and our tone may be informal at times. But the respect we have for your needs and the bar we set for the legal content we provide to you, our site visitor, is not negotiable. Our aim has always been, and still is, to make our content the best we can.

And that's why we're still here.

And still loving it!

PS: Feel free to add your comments or suggestions using Facebook at the bottom of this page or by sending us a note using our Contact form.

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