Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Justice ministry takes legal aid to inner city and rural Jamaica

Published:Monday | January 16, 2017 | 1:00 AMSyranno Baines
Faulkner

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ), through the Legal Aid Council (LAC), on Friday officially launched its Mobile Justice Unit geared towards representation of vulnerable persons in marginalised inner-city and deep-rural communities.

The mobile unit begins operation tomorrow at Caanan Heights in Clarendon.

The following week will see the unit visiting Denham Town in western Kingston.

"We can achieve the twin objective of providing legal representation of persons who cannot afford counsel, the mentally ill and others who are marginalised because of their circumstances," said Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck.

He added: "There are persons who can't even find the bus fare to get to a legal aid clinic. Now the legal aid is coming to them and they can easily access information on how to access more services in the Ministry of Justice and also in Jamaica."

Appointments can be made via the MoJ or LAC to have the mobile unit visit a particular community and provide legal consultation free of cost.

The bus is to be staffed by an attorney-at-law, records and research officer and driver.

Executive director of the Legal Aid Council, Hugh Faulkner, stated that consultation of a criminal or civil nature will be addressed by the unit.

Faulkner told The Gleaner that the unit will collect data on all the persons who receive assistance and the type of assistance rendered.

The Inter-American Development Bank, UK Aid and Canada Global assisted the MoJ in acquiring the mobile unit.

The LAC served more than 8,000 persons last year and a schedule of up to three months has already been drafted for the unit.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com