On 3 December 2021, government partners and other stakeholders will validate the country’s first-ever Legal Aid Bill that will provide a framework for more structured and coordinated legal support for poor vulnerable women, children, and the elderly when passed into law.
The Act will establish a legal framework that will set up an independent legal aid board to manage funds that will enable lawyers, and judicial practitioners to provide legal aid to vulnerable citizens and indigent who do not usually have access to legal services due to high fees.
Poor vulnerable people cannot hire legal counsel because lawyers are either expensive or scarce in some parts of the country, resulting in unfair trials, or prolonged pre-trial detentions.
“Access to justice in Liberia is hindered by prolonged pre-trial detention, prison overcrowding, and loaded court dockets. Due to inadequate legal aid services, majority of the poor and vulnerable people who attempt to pursue justice are frustrated by the lengthy and costly process, which denies them of the much sought-after justice which they desire,” said Violet Baffour, UNDP Liberia’s Deputy Resident Representative.
The Validation will be held in Monrovia and brings together over 50 people from stakeholder organizations across Montserrado including government line ministries and agencies, CSOs working on legal aid as well as donors and diplomatic missions in Monrovia.
The Ministry of Justice with support from the joint UN Rule of Law Programme developed the Legal Aid Bill that is anchored on gender-responsive and human rights principles.
The Programme supports the Government of Liberia to build a society based on the principles of rule of law, human rights, and justice.