Home / General News / Harmonization of legal regime needed to deliver legal aid – Director

Harmonization of legal regime needed to deliver legal aid – Director

Share this with more people!

The Director of the Ghana Legal Aid Scheme, Mr Alhassan Yahaya Seini has stressed the importance of harmonizing the legal regime for accessing and delivery of legal aid in the country.

Mr Seini said this could be done by ensuring the constitutional independence and resourcing of the Scheme to play its mandate of protection and defence of the rights of the poor, vulnerable and indigents.

The Director, who was briefing the Ghana News Agency in Accra at the weekend on a proposed launch of the institution of a Legal Aid Week in early October this year, noted that the inclusion of the poor and vulnerable in the formal justice delivery system, was essential in building confidence for national security, cohesion and development.

Mr Seini said even though Parliament gave ministerial responsibility for the Legal Aid Scheme to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the Scheme was expected to defend the rights of the low, poor, indigene and vulnerable in society against infractions by the rich and powerful but ironically the State was the most powerful in the country.

He therefore suggested the intensification of Alternative Dispute Resolutions, updating of the Legal Aid Scheme Act, recruiting and training competent dedicated and committed legal, para-legal and supporting staff and providing infrastructure, logistics and development of training programmes for effective implementation of legal aid programme countrywide.

The Director said it was unfortunate that due to ignorance, the rural poor took their peace for granted and were thus marginalized just because they could not afford justice and so were denied of legal services to get justice and freedom.

Mr Seini said it was necessary that legal aid was included in national issues and called for collaboration with stakeholders, especially the media to sensitize, educate and assist the people to discuss and benefit from justice and human rights.

He said majority of the rural poor and people in the various societies could not assess justice and legal aid because the services of the commercial Bar Association were beyond their means and capacity.

The Director called for a ‘first aid’ to support the activities of the Legal Aid Scheme to enable the rural poor and the vulnerable access Legal Aid and not to be denied their freedom and justice as enshrined in the country’s constitution.

Mr Seini urged the District and Metropolitan Assemblies to team up with the Legal Council and Judicial Council to train local persons in simple legal matters to assist the Justice and Security sub-committees of the Assembly’s in monitoring and reporting on pertinent issues at the grassroots level.

The Ghana Legal Aid Scheme has through its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) been able to successfully assist disputants to settle 1,952 cases and to arrive at compromise and avoid litigations.

Mr Seini said under the ADR, the Scheme had created and operated Community Mediation Centres (CMC’s) in the Regional capitals and communities and were engaged in intensive legal literacy and rights awareness and education for all sectors of the populace.

He said as at October 2010, the Community Mediation Centres (CMC) received 2,671 disputes and complaints with 1,952 of the cases resolved while 552 of the cases were referred to the courts with 109 of the cases still pending.

Mr Seini said the rural poor in the Districts still depended on the regional offices of the Scheme, especially where there were no courts to search for justice.

“The only programme for training of staff has been the training of national service personnel in Alternative Dispute Resolution for the operation of the CMC’s”

Source: GNA

Share this with more people!

Check Also

Kumasi Customs Division mobilizes GH₵184.5m as revenue by July

The Ashanti Regional Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) generated a total of …