Civil society institution provide legal services to Jordanians who cannot afford it

Himam. (Photo: Himam Facebook)
AMMAN — Although some civil society institutions helping underprivileged groups are targeted, their work is helping many in the community.اضافة اعلان

One of the beneficiaries of legal aid by civil society organizations, who requested anonymity, said that the assistance she received saved her from prison and a big fine. She said she used the money to hire a lawyer.

“They are saviors of the poor and underprivileged,” she told Jordan News.

She said that targeting these organizations for allegedly being “illegitimate” appears to be a strategy to force everyone to hire lawyers directly, which would require huge sums of money, which many Jordanians cannot afford.

Hadeel Abdel Aziz, executive director of the Justice Center for Legal Aid, told Jordan News that her office helps those who cannot afford legal fees by using practicing lawyers who are members of the Bar Association. She said the center pays them for assisting those in need.

She explained that Mazen Irsheidat, the former head of the Jordan Bar Association (JBA), sued her and the center in 2016. “He claimed that the center was practicing law in Jordan without a license,” she explained.

She maintained that Irsheidat considered the legal aid centers as competitors to lawyers, and 41 male and female lawyers who worked with the Justice Center were referred to the Disciplinary Council in 2019 for that reason.

“But the case was settled in favor of the justice center,” she pointed out.

Irsheidat was not immediately available for comment.

Abdul Aziz affirmed the legitimacy and legality of the center. “It is legally registered with the authorities and its goals are clear: Providing legal aid to the poor through contracts with lawyers licensed and registered in the syndicate, whose fees are paid for by the center,” she said.

She concluded that everyone has the right to legal assistance and that the Justice Center will keep providing legal services until a national institution is established to do so.

Since 2014, the JBA has been required by law to implement a legal aid system that would give access to legal assistance to all Jordan. “But to this day, nothing was done,” she charged.

Yahya Abu Aboud, JBA’s newly-elected president, told Jordan News that the syndicate will articulate its viewpoint on civil society institutions and legal aid in an official statement after consultation with the Bar Council. He said a statement may be issued after one week.

The Civil Society Organizations Coordination Committee “Himam” praised the work of civil society organizations, specifically for providing all people with access to justice and consolidating the rule of law.

Himam said in a statement on its website that it asked professional unions to embrace civil society institutions because they are offering professional services. It said the “moment has come to move together to serve the community, as this is a joint obligation and responsibility”.

It also expressed gratitude to the Justice Center and other civil society institutions for their efforts in providing legal aid to the impoverished, marginalized groups, and victims, which assisted them in accessing justice.

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