Legal Aid Scheme needs to be resourced - Supreme Court nominee

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi

A Supreme Court judge nominee, Justice Clemence Honyenuga has called for more resources for the Ghana Legal Aid Scheme to enable the scheme to deliver its mandate effectively and efficiently.

According to him, the scheme plays a significant role in the justice delivery system of the country, and therefore denying them the needed resources  would affect the operations of the scheme.

Justice Honyenuga who was answering a question on the role of the Justice for All Programme during his vetting today [Monday, May 11, 2020] as a Supreme Court nominee, said the Ghana Legal Aid Scheme lacked many resources including lawyers.

He explained that the scheme had to sometimes rely on the benevolence of the Ghana Bar Association for lawyers to represent their clients in courts.

He said many of the lawyers who come to do their national service at the scheme leave after the expiration of their service because they do not find the scheme attractive to work there.

Justice Honyenuga was of the view that since not everyone who could afford the services of a lawyer, resourcing the scheme would help it to provide legal services to the less privileged ones in the society.

He said through the Justice for All Progamme, the country had been praised by many international bodies, including the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Legal Aid

Ghana Legal Aid Scheme is a public service organisation within the Justice delivery system of Ghana.

It provides legal assistance for all who seek to defend or enforce the constitution in accordance with Article 294 of the Constitution.

The Scheme is tasked under the Legal Aid Scheme Act 1997 (Act 542) to provide legal assistance to the poor and indigent, as well as other persons in the prosecution and defence of their rights under the Constitution of Ghana.

The Legal Aid Scheme is Ghana's effort at ensuring that constitutional democracy, rule of law and access to justice extends to the poor and vulnerable who would otherwise be excluded from the formal justice delivery system.