October 5 2022 5:35 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Gov’t committed to expanding access to legal aid — minister

Minister of State for Legal Affairs Wafaa Bani Mustafa
Minister of State for Legal Affairs Wafaa Bani Mustafa.(Photo: Petra)
AMMAN — The government is committed to expanding access to legal aid as a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial and as a key component of Jordan’s dedication to the UN’s sustainable development agenda, Minister of State for Legal Affairs Wafaa Bani Mustafa said, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

She told a meeting on legal aid in Amman on Wednesday that the Ministry of Justice had already established a directorate and a legal aid fund to ensure the sustainability of this type of assistance and not rely solely on volunteers.

The conference, organized by the Justice Center for Legal Aid, brought together government and civil society stakeholders to discuss how to standardize and regulate legal aid on a national scale to promote justice and equality for all.

Bani Mustafa emphasized that the government is committed to enhancing coordination between the Ministry of Justice, the Judicial Council, the Bar Association, and civil society institutions to advance legal aid and guarantee citizens’ access to justice.

She expressed hope that the conference will produce a clear vision for developing legal aid services, providing protection for the vulnerable, especially children, victims of violence, and other high-risk groups, and allowing them to fully exercise their rights.

Maha Al-Khatib, chair of the Administrative Board of the Justice Center for Legal Aid, said that the gathering is a call to the various stakeholders to continue dialogue to achieve the noble goal of ensuring that no one is denied access to justice.

She cautioned that failing to meet the needs of the weak and helpless “places us in a position of great social, legal, and moral responsibility.”

Khatib explained that her center is pursuing a national legal aid system, noting that 70 percent of individuals appear in court without an attorney and one out of every five families is exposed to “legal issues”.

She explained that only 3 percent of violence victims seek legal counsel, so it is necessary to improve access to justice and promote the rule of law.

The resident representative of the UN Development Program in Jordan, Randa Aboul-Hosn, said that access to justice is a fundamental right. She said that legal aid has been recognized since the 1990s and that everyone has the right to seek legal assistance in all stages of litigation to protect and establish their rights.

She added that, according to the basic principles of the rule of law, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that everyone, regardless of their means and background, have access to legal representation to protect their rights before the law.

Legal aid, according to the UN official, includes free legal advice, assistance, and representation for those who cannot afford it, as well as access to legal information and services through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and restorative justice processes. اضافة اعلان

 

 

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