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CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION FOR AMENDMENT OF LAW Featured

Written by  Mirriam Kaliza

A Joint Civil Society Coalition has backed a proposition by the Legal Aid Bureau to amend section of the Legal Aid Act to allow paralegals have limited audience in courts of law where they can represent clients in minor cases both civil and criminal.

23
September

A representative of the grouping Charles Kajoloweka said they are in full support of the proposal as when amended will address long - standing issues of lack of justice for the poor and the vulnerable.

 

Addressing the media in Lilongwe, Kajoloweka further explained that currently the poor and the vulnerable are denied access to justice due to systematic challenges.

 

For instance, Legal Aid Bureau indicates that there is a backlog of over 700 thousand cases as of November 2020 which cannot be handled by the country's 627 licensed legal practitioners.

 

On the other hand, the Bureau has 25 000 cases with 25 lawyers working on the cases yet 36 paralegal the bureau has, cannot represent clients as the law does not allow them to do so.

 

"We as the civil society are calling upon all stakeholders involved to approach the matter with an open mind and allow a healthy debate that can bring out solutions on access to justice for the poor", said Kajoloweka.

 

Malawi Law Society however opposes the proposal saying allowing paralegals to have a limited audience in subordinate courts will compromise legal standards in the country.

 

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