The Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) is offering legal services to persons who cannot afford to hire lawyers and those who can afford but do not know how to find suitable barristers to defend them.
This program is being rolled out under the LNBA’s “Pro-bono Legal Aid” program, which the association says will create awareness of the [ongoing] free legal services and access to justice.
The Legal Aid Clinic – supported by USAID together with the Legal Professional Development & Anti-Corruption (LPAC) program – provides free, subsidized services rendered by LNBA to promote and strengthen access to justice.
Speaking at the stakeholders’ engagement dialogue held in Sinkor on Monday, the chairperson of the Legal Aid Committee, Cllr. Joyce Woods, said the event helped to dispel misconceptions about the legal system of Liberia, and to enable many citizens understand their responsibilities under the law through the awareness program.
The lawyer said the program is also dedicated to helping vulnerable women and children, widows, pre-trial detainees, and indigent Liberians to resolve their legal problems by ensuring that accused persons, who are unable to hire a lawyer or to pay for legal services, are not denied justice.
Persistent non-support, domestic violence, marital disputes, minor criminal cases, abandonment, child custody, and labor cases between employers and employees are other cases that can be handled by lawyers through the legal aid scheme.
Meanwhile, Kpadeson Sumo, assistant professor at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, admonished traditional, religious and community leaders to use mediation in resolving problems, if necessary – than going to court on matters that can be easily settled.
Monday’s dialogue drew together representatives from religious groups, civil society, Liberia Student Union, Liberia Council of Churches, and community chairpersons from Montserrado County, among others.