Legislators from Acholi Sub region have promised to generate a private member’s bill on National Legal Aid following failure by the executive to approve the bill since 2012.
The lawmakers made the commitment while meeting members of the Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) who are pushing popularization the draft bill.
Legal aid is the provision of services to clients at no cost or at a very minimal cost as well as offering legal assistance, representation and legal advice
The legislators led by the Gulu Municipality MP, Lyandro Komaketch assured LASPNET that since government is not showing interest in advancing the bill, it is time to consider moving the bill as a private member.
“We are going to push for a bi-partisan debate as far as legal aid is concerned; we have resolved to bring a private members bill without waiting for the policy statement to be adopted by the executive. We commit ourselves that the New Year in terms of our resolve is to see that this bill and law is ready,” Komaketch said.
LASPNET Executive Director, Sylvia Namubiru said that to date, the provision of legal aid operates in a policy vacuum and as the result is a patchwork of services many of which provide excellent value for money but lack a standardized set of services that would provide for the legal needs for all Ugandans.
“LASPNET in partnership with JLOS and other key stakeholders have for the last 10 years been advocating for the adoption of a National Public Legal Aid Policy (NLAP) as a key ingredient for establishing a National Public Legal Aid service provision system,” Namubiru said.
Namubiru said that currently, a draft bill is in place awaiting approval of the Executive since 2012, which she attributed to the fact that priority of the government has moved to infrastructure development and Vision 2040.