Paralegals in Mombasa County have appealed to the government to fast track the establishment of the Legal Aid Fund in a bid to address the challenges of funds inadequacy.
The paralegals argue that there have been delays in the establishment of the fund since 2016.
Speaking in Mombasa, one of the paralegals, Dismus Omondi from Wema Justice Centre reiterated the role the paralegals play in the community.
“Our work is complicated by the fact that we do not have sufficient funds. Some cases require ample funds while other documents require fees to process,” said Omondi.
He further asked the government to recognise paralegals and sensitize Kenyans on their role in contemporary society.
At the same time, Kituo Cha Sheria Advocate Zedekiah Adika urged parliament to urgently approve the gazetted regulations under the Legal Aid Service.
He cites delay by parliament as an impediment towards its approval.
Adika wants the government to further simplify the Legal Aid Service curriculum adding that it will facilitate and strengthen paralegal practice in the country.
“The government should ensure all regulations are put in place for paralegals “Legal Aid Service should be facilitated to be as active as possible,” noted Adika.
He asked the exchequer to facilitate the release of Legal Aid Funds saying “the project is meant to enhance the access to justice to the poor,”
Meanwhile, Coast regional National legal aid service head Mutegi Muthomi said the government is currently working on a training curriculum for paralegals.
We are working on the legal aid fund to ensure funds trickle down to targeted groups. Paralegals should seek to engage with us. We shall advise them concerning the law,”
According to Adika the program dubbed Njia za Haki is supported by the European Union and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)