The Programme Officer for the Board in the Eastern Province, James Thomas- Mafinda has disclosed that fifty-two legal aid service providers and trusted partners from the region will be participating in the meeting. About half of the organizations invited to the meeting provide legal aid in the informal justice sector and the Alternative Dispute Resolution services provided by stakeholders not covered by the Local Court Act 2012 namely chiefs, religious leaders and Tribal Headmen.
‘The idea of inviting trusted partners is to have them understand that the mandate of the Board is not limited to providing legal advice, legal representation and legal education,’ Thomas-Mafinda said. ‘We want them to also know that the Accreditation of Legal Aid providers is a key mandate of the Board. Also, the Board will be training Trusted Partners as paralegals which should enable them to provide legal aid by way of advising stakeholders and those accessing justice in the informal justice sector and Alternative Dispute Resolution services and also monitor the delivery of justice in these sectors.’
The Legal Aid Service Providers will discuss the provisions in the Legal Aid Act 2012 which give the Board the authority to Accredit Legal Aid Service Providers. It will also discuss monitoring and evaluating of service providers and penalties for non-compliance.
These meetings will be replicate in Bo and Makeni respectively. After which the Board will start the provisional accreditation of Legal Aid Providers in January 2017. This will be followed by a survey on Legal Aid Providers in the country in the first quarter of 2017.