Legal aid scheme needs strengthening - MPby Nnamdi Obi 06/07/2018 14:11:00 0 comments 1 Views
Benjamin Mensah, GNA
Accra, July 06, GNA - Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Member of Parliament (MP) for Prestea/ Huni Valley, has called for strong support to the legal aid scheme to enable people unable to afford legal fees, to have access to justice.
The scheme required to be adequately resourced to reach out with its services to those in the regions and districts.
“The scheme must be able to perform its coordinating and supervisory role among both state and non-state actors, providing legal aid in Ghana, to contribute effectively to access justice.”
The MP in a statement made on the floor of Parliament asked that the Legal Aid Board and the Ghana Bar Association, united their effort and found innovative ways of getting lawyers to offer pro bono services, in a more coordinated and sustained manner.
She said legal aid was a tool for promoting national development and underlined the need to strengthen both government and non-governmental institutions to perform efficient legal aid services in the country.
Access to justice, she noted, was a mechanism for ensuring the realisation of constitutionally guaranteed rights for the broader goals of poverty reduction.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi expressed discomfort with the cumbersome and the high cost of judicial processes and said these were making it difficult for the poor to access justice.
There was also the added problem of ignorance about the court system by many in the society – the fear of the judicial system, due to the low levels of education, intimidation and provocation by court officials.
“Mr Speaker, as a result of these and other barriers, every nation needs a legal aid system or scheme to help, especially the poor and vulnerable, within their societies to access justice.”
She stated that the provision of legal aid was a necessity and one of the primary responsibilities of the nation.
The scheme has presence across the 10 regions and the MP urged strategic interventions to make the service really operational to assist the poor and contribute to the promotion of national peace, security and development.
The MPs were unanimous in their position that the legal aid scheme should be strengthened to the benefit of everybody.