Kabale – Lawyers in Kabale district have petitioned Government to urgently pass the Legal Aid bill into law, asserting that the policy will enable indigent and poor Ugandans to receive state-funded legal services.
Lawyers made the appeal on Friday during the 10th annual regional Pro-bono day held at Sulvan square at Kabale district Headquarters in Kabale municipality.
Lawyers said that, for more than 16 years, the bill to establish a legal aid policy supported by the state has appeared every year before the parliament, without the possibility of enactment into law.
The bill aims at enabling access to free legal aid by marginalized and vulnerable groups and also regulates the legal aid service providers.
Counsel Justus Muhangi of Muhangi and Partners advocates and also doubles as the representative of lawyers in Kabale district at Uganda law society said that Parliament should quickly consider enacting the bill into law in order to help ordinary poor Ugandans to access legal services easily and quickly. He said that this will help people to get justified legal services which are not based on bribes.
Shadiah Kassaga, the senior legal officer at Kabale legal Aid project Uganda law society said that once the bill is passed, it will compel the government to facilitate lawyers in the country in order for them to provide free and equal legal aid services to all people irrespective of financial muscle, age, religion, colour among others. She added that once the bill is passed it will give the mandate to common people to demand legal services because they will not fear charges by lawyers.
Henry Kyarimpa Kiviri of Mugarura Kwarisiima and company advocates blamed Parliament for failing to pass bills that help the common person but rather consider passing bills which intend to help a few and rich Uganda citing age limit bill among others.
Last year during the 9th annual regional Pro-bono day held at Railway grounds, along Jinja Road in Kampala, the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah said that the motion was still pending because of the financial implication of 17 billion to the government. He argued that the Government is already funding many projects and does not have enough resources to meet the policy requirement.
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On September 24, 2020, Parliament granted leave to the Member of Parliament for Gulu municipality, Lyandro Komakech, to introduce a private members bill, entitled the National Legal Aid Bill has since then yielded nothing.