The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has entreated new lawyersto provide free legal services to clients of the Board.
She made the call at a ceremony organized by the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) to familiarize with new lawyers who were called to the Bar in March instant. The ceremony took place at the Atlantic Hotel on Lumley Beach in Freetown on Friday, 9 April 2021.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles intimated the new lawyers that the Board has 16 Legal Aid Counsels/Lawyers and offices in twenty-three (23) cities and towns around the country. He added that the Board does not have enough lawyers to provide legal services to the thousands of indigent persons who qualify for free legal representation, legal advice and assistance around the country. She drew attention to the Legal Aid Act 2012 which provides that the scheme provides legal aid to all those who cannot afford to pay for legal services regardless of their nationality.
“You can walk into any of our offices and request for any number of our clients you want to represent in court and we will happily oblige,’ she said.
She encouraged the lawyers to practice upcountry noting that Freetown is becoming crowded and therefore not the best placefor new lawyers. ‘As new lawyers, you should not be in haste to make money rather you should focus on learning particularly from your seniors.’ she offered a piece of advice, adding ‘You should comport yourself and always be nice to clients.’
The Commissionerfor the Anti-Corruption Commission, Francis Ben Kaifala implored the new Lawyers to avoid mediocrity noting that there is a minimum content to follow.
The Solicitor General, Mohamed Lamin Tarawally noted that integrity is the key to the profession. Moreover, as lawyers they will be held to very high standardsand therefore will be treated harshly when they fall short. ‘Do not be in a rush for money, it will come with time,’ he said.
The senior most lawyer at the ceremony, Francis Gabiddon underlined the importance of reading Legal Texts, Law Reporting, an Evidence Act and Hard Work.
Other speakers include the Chair of the General legal Council, Elvis Kargbo and Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai. The President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, Michaella Eddinia Swallow had earlier delivered the welcome address. The ceremony was chaired by Julian Cole