Leslie Downie

///Leslie Downie
Leslie Downie2019-08-07T15:08:19+02:00
Leslie Downie
Leslie DownieSenior Associate

An overview

Leslie Downie joined Michalsons in 2016 to coordinate a groundbreaking legal specialisation for Land Information Systems Law. Leslie is uniquely skilled to help manage legal risks triggered when processing information for land in pro-poor data portals. Her theoretical expertise is drawn from postgraduate legal and language qualifications and her MPhil research (Geomatics EBE).  She is on the roll of legal practitioners as an attorney, notary and conveyancer, as well as being an accredited mediator and an affiliate member of the South African Geomatics Institute. 

Her specialisations include verification and authentication processes for land information systems, fine art and collectables, and data from poor or low-literate citizens. Leslie also offers mediation services for alternative dispute resolution relating to land, housing, art, collectables and religious entities.

University of Cape Town: MPhil (Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment: Geomatics Division), 2015 – with distinction

Stellenbosch University: Centre for International and Comparative Labour and Social Security Law, 2000

University of South Africa: Hons in English Literature, 1991

University of Pretoria: BA LLB, 1981

  • Land tenure and land information systems (LIS) 
  • Informal and religious land tenure
  • Record keeping for disadvantaged consumers
  • Mediation and alternative dispute resolution
  • Simple language/audio recordings for low-literate right holders
  • Training of paralegals and land information record keepers
  • Notarial verification and authentication processes
  • Researcher, author, speaker and publisher

Leslie loves playing with creative ideas and new concepts. She is fascinated by abstract and conceptual art and has written a collaborative murder mystery with friends (Dead Letter).  She enjoys editing writing that interests her; social hiking, open water swimming, and growing things you can eat – even though she is a useless cook.  Most of all she loves quality family time. Volunteer activities include: Christian Lawyer’s Association board member 2007 – 2008 | Learn to Earn board chairperson Hermanus (NPO) 2001 – 2003 | Harare Inner City Partnership social welfare committee 1997 – 1998 | American Field Service (AFS) exchange student Dallas, Texas.

2016 – Present: Senior Associate at Michalsons

Leslie offers various legal services, including:

Land tenure information systems advice

  • Informal land tenure data
  • Deeds registry conveyancing and notarial processes
  • Backlog title deeds for beneficiaries of state housing
  • Title registration problems in the secondary market
  • Gender equality when upgrading land tenure
  • Family title and pro-poor marriage contracts
  • Religious land tenure and missionary land
  • Training of land information system paralegals
  • Pilot projects and research

Mediation and conciliation services (Alternative dispute resolution services)

  • Land
    Disputes over previously state subsidised land – eg disputes over upgrading of tenure in line with gender equality, and between beneficiaries or informal occupants
    Market priced properties – eg between buyers and sellers, neighbours, or formal owners and informal occupants Religious institutions
    Disputes between leaders and their spouses, leaders and staff, leaders and members – eg over clergy housing or land donations for land reform to help the landless
  • Art
    Disputes between artists, dealers, investors, insurers, foundries and gallerists – eg over attribution, use, consignments, deliveries and breakages

Notarial verification and authentication processes for:

  •  Fine art, celebrity memorabilia and collectables
  •  Apostilles (for foreign jurisdictions)

Local government consulting: Overstrand Municipality housing department, Western Cape Provincial Human Settlements reference group

Pilot project associations and focus groups: Overstrand Municipality, Cape Law Society, Stellenbosch University, Mossel Bay Municipality.

Research: Land tenure information systems, household rights and social tenure, urban land rights, pro-poor generic contracts, backlog title deeds

Mediation panelist: DRDLR Management facility panel for land mediators (2011 – 2013), Mediation in Motion 2015 to date

South African Geomatics Institute (SAGI) affiliate member 

Law firms: Burgers & Van Noordwyk, Downie Gray & Associates (Hermanus) Atherstone & Cook (Harare, Zimbabwe) Livingston, Leandy Inc (Durban)

Lectureships: UNISA (social law, family law and law of persons), UCT (business law)

BLISS: Business Law Informal Sector Solutions: Trademark holder and audio publisher

Directorship: Imibala Fine Art Gallery, (NPO associated with the Imibala Trust)