Leslie Downie
Leslie DownieSenior Associate

An overview

Leslie Downie is uniquely skilled to help organisations manage legal risks triggered by recording inaccurate information in databases. Her theoretical expertise in land information systems is drawn from legal qualifications, a postgraduate language degree and her 2015 MPhil research. As a practising attorney, notary, conveyancer, mediator and legal consultant, one of her major specialisations is data from poor or low-literate citizens.

University of Cape Town: Phil (Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment: Geomatics Division), 2015

Stellenbosch University: Centre of 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 information systems (LIS) particularly housing-related
  • Social tenure
  • Researcher
  • Mediator
  • Plain legal language, particularly simple grassroots language
  • Audio recordings for functionally illiterate listeners (project management)
  • Writer and editor for collaborative writing and sustainable publishing
  • Drafting legal precedents for the poor, particularly as a record for LIS
  • Training, particularly housing paralegals and record keepers
  • Notarial authentication
Leslie loves conceptual art, social hiking and distance swimming, and has written a collaborative murder mystery, Dead Letter, with friends. 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 1976
2016 – Present: Senior Associate at Michalsons

Leslie undertakes various legal activities, including:

  • Land information systems and governance in recording social tenure
  • POPI hard copy and manual processes
  • Training paralegals and record keepers
  • Plain language and audio recordings for functionally illiterate consumers
  • Mediation
  • Notarial services (limited)

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

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

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

Pilot project associations: Overstrand Municipality, Cape Law Society, Stellenbosch University. Mossel Bay Municipality and Bergrivier Municipality (current)

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

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

BLISS: Business Law Informal Sector Solutions: Trademark holder

Leslie Downie Consultancy: 2007 to date