National
Gov't to help the poor access justice
Publish Date: Jun 25, 2014
Gov't to help the poor access justice
Justice and Constitutional affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire addresses a press briefing about the National Legal Aid Conference at Uganda media centre. Photo/Lillian Babirye
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Francis Kagolo & Anna Adima

The Government has drafted a law and policy to enhance its support to the legal aid schemes across the country with a view of helping the poor and other vulnerable groups to access justice.

The National Legal Aid Policy and Legal Aid Bill, which are now before Cabinet, are also intended to curb the rampant mob justice in the country, according to justice minister Kahinda Otafiire.

Addressing the press at the Media Centre in Kampala Tuesday, Otafiire recognized the legal aid mechanism as the best way to ensure equal access to justice in society.

“The Government is committed to improving the welfare and wellbeing of Ugandans through various initiatives.

Establishing comprehensive and harmonised legal aid mechanisms is a critical entry point for enhancing access to justice for especially the poor and vulnerable,” he said.

The move, Otafiire said, is in line with the Vision 2040 and national development plans. The minister said tabling the proposed policy and law in Parliament is pending a certificate of financial implication from the ministry of finance.

“These commitments demonstrate a shift by the Government from a less effective and less integrated state supported legal aid framework that was limited to the state brief scheme and a few legal aid clinics of institutions,” he said.

He was briefing the media about the upcoming two-day national legal aid conference scheduled to kick off on Thursday at the Kampala Imperial Royale Hotel.

The conference is organised by the justice law and order sector (JLOS) under the theme “accessible and effective legal aid – the key to unlocking Uganda’s development potential.”

The conference is to discuss measures to address major policy gaps, regulatory challenge and other limitations to achieving the national legal aid priorities and the prosperity for all programme.

Under the legal aid scheme, Government can help pay for one’s legal advice, family mediation and representation in court and some tribunals.

Often majority of Ugandans especially the poor are unable to seek justice in the courts of law mainly because of lack of funds to hire lawyers. Others have the preconceived idea that they cannot get justice even when they go to court.
 

“This has culminated into a state of lawlessness witnessed daily in our society. Many people particularly the poor and vulnerable are taken advantage of regularly, mob justice is rife, all indicating a frustration from inability to access justice, among other issues,” said Andrew Mwayi, the acting manager of Justice Centres Uganda.
 

“The media chronicle stories, daily, of people who have murdered, committed arson, threatened violence, damaged property, all as a result of land, family or even commercial disputes that they decide to resolve themselves with minimal involvement of the justice system,” he added.
 

Otafiire is optimistic that problems that are the result of lack of legal aid and assistance, such as corruption, mob justice, or unfair trial, are expected to be solved through the Policy and Bill.
 

He encouraged judicial officers to always accord warring parties to a chance to settles issues out of court in civil cases as one of the ways to deal with the huge case backlog.
 

He said the 100 judges and justices and 400 magistrates in the country cannot dispose of the 1,000 cases each receives in a year.
 

Also related to this story

A call for speedy passing of legal aid bill

Marginalised workers to get free legal aid

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Hajj pilgrims begin holy journey to Mecca
182 Muslim pilgrims on Wednesday departed for this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia to fulfill the final fifth pillar of Islam and strengthen their faith in Allah...
Expert wants authority for Ebola,zoonotic diseases
A senior academic at Makerere University department of Biosecurity, Eco-systems and Veterinary Public Health has called for the formation of an authority to lead the fight against the ever-growing threat of zoonotic diseases...
Museveni launches construction of Soroti fruit factory
CONSTRUCTION of a multibillion fruit processing factory based in Soroti district has been launched by President Museveni with emphasis to grow more fruits...
Govt verifies questionable applicants for National IDs
THE ministry of internal affairs has deployed a team to carryout citizenship verification on questionable applicants for the National Identity cards...
Minister warns city councilors against frustrating projects
The Minister in charge of the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze has warned city councilors against engaging in political disagreements that paralyse the city’s development projects....
NSSF: Jamwa
The hearing of the appeal in which former NSSF managing director David Chandi Jamwa is challenging his conviction and the sentence of 12 years imprisonment was on Thursday delayed until October 10....
Should bride price be made optional?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter