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Kenya launches universal legal aid guidelines

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Kenya has launched guidelines to expand legal aid services to all persons in the country.

Attorney General Githu Muigai told a media briefing in Nairobi Monday that the National Action Plan on Legal Aid 2017-2022 is an indicator of the government’s commitment to ensure access to justice for all as enshrined in the constitution and also in line with the international best practices and standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.

“The guidelines aims to build stronger justice institutions, improve access to and quality of legal services to members of the public especially the poor and vulnerable while reducing poverty and empowering citizen participation in governance,” Muigai said.

The National Action Plan sets out the major initiatives that will address legal aid concerns across the country while providing the necessary impetus to operationalize the Legal Aid Act 2016 and the National Legal Aid and Awareness Policy 2015.

The guidelines are a culmination of many process coupled with the legal experience of many lawyers who believe that the rights of all persons, no matter the circumstances are upheld.

Muigai said the action plan will be a complete paradigm shift in the justice system and should be replicated in other African countries.

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He added that the plan will provide a broad strategic framework on legal aid while ensuring there is continued synergy and coordination among the stakeholders so as to provide legal aid that is responsive, affordable, accessible and speedy.

Muigai said since independence, legal aid has been offered by both state and non-state actors; however, the non-state actors have been the major providers.

Muigai said that the National Action Plan is also aimed at fostering transparency and accountability in the dispensation of government’s obligation and commitments under the national, regional and international legal framework on access to justice.

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