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Legal Aid, An Affordable Way For All Fijians To Access The Law: A-G

After highlighting these the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum called on Legal Aid lawyers to ensure that those who could not afford legal services had access to their services.
09 Feb 2020 10:22
Legal Aid, An Affordable Way For All Fijians To Access The Law: A-G

The Legal Aid Commission’s vision is to provide Fijians access to justice through professional, efficient and quality legal aid services.

The primary role of the commission is to provide legal services to those people who are unable to afford the services of a private legal practitioner.

After highlighting these the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum called on Legal Aid lawyers to ensure that those who could not afford legal services had access to their services.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was officiating during the closing of the Legal Aid Commission second annual national staff conference at Warwick Fiji on the Coral Coast yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they had to understand the critical role that their organisation played and “the critical role that all of you play as an individual.

“You have to ensure that those who cannot afford it have accessibility to the law, which is legal aid funded of course by the state because the state is extremely neutral.

“You know, the fundamental issue regarding accessibility to the law is your ability to be able to afford that particular access. Your ability to be able to understand that particular law. You know that there are various avenues available to you to be able to access the law,” he added.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that many countries throughout the world, not only Fiji, actually had a fundamental problem with access to the law.

“There is a saying that only the rich can use the law and the poor cannot,” he said.

“So, lawyers may be too expensive. The people who may not be literate may not be well connected, do not know how to use the law, do not effectively know that there is a particular law that can be used or even when the law is used against them, they do not know how to actually be able to present their side of the case.

“Think about what it is like for those Fijians who won’t able to afford that accessibility or have access to that framework of legal assistance.

“Where will they go? How will they access the law? How will they will be able to defend their rights or know their rights?

“So, this is why in the formulation of the 2013 Constitution, it was seen pivotal to ensure that people have access to legal aid, because that is the only way you can actually ensure that the rule of law is practically implemented.”

Edited by Percy Kean

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