Veep bemoans refusal of lawyers to serve in Upper East & West

John Mahama - Vice President

Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Monday bemoaned the perennial refusal of lawyers to take up positions in the offices of the Legal Aid Scheme in the Upper East and Upper West Regions.

He said the situation was not only an impediment to the administration of justice in the country, but a denial of the rights and justice of the poor and vulnerable in the two regions.

Vice President Mahama made the complaint in a speech read on his behalf during the launch of the Legal Aid Week in Accra.

The legal week, which was organised by the Legal Aid Board would among other issues hold symposia on topics such as; Empowering the vulnerable in Society through Legal Aid, Access to Justice through Legal Aid: The Past, the present and the future, Equality before the Law: Myth or Reality throughout the week.

The Board was established in 1987 by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Legal Aid Law 184 and subsequently re-enacted by the legal Aid Scheme Act 542 in 1997.

It was aimed among other things to provide legal representation in both criminal and civil matters to the poor and vulnerable in all the regions.

Under the scheme, lawyers are posted to the regions to administer legal challenges at all levels.

However, for some time now, the two regions had been without lawyers attracting comments and criticisms from the public.

Vice President Mahama said inspite of challenges, government would continue to put in place adequate measures that would ensure equity and equality in the administration of Justice in the entire country.

He said in the interim, each region since last year had received two trained Mediators to help the poor to access legal advice and administration, while efforts are being done to strengthen the regional offices to execute their duties effectively.

He said about 30 per cent of Ghana’s population representing about eight million people are poor and government would work out modalities to provide adequate protection and support to them to enjoy normal life in the society.

Justice William A. Atuguba, Chairman of the Legal Aid Board gave the assurance that the week-long activities would create awareness for the public to know the role of the Board in the society and also bring them closer to the people.

He appealed to the public to patronise the symposia to acquaint themselves of the operations of the board and how they could access their services.

Source: GNA

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