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Lawyers to provide free legal services

11 December 2014, 19:00 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - A group of lawyers in Uganda have decided to start offering free legal aid in the country.

Under their umbrella body LAPSNET, they are strongly calling on government to amend the existing legal framework to facilitate easy and free access to justice among Ugandans.

They claim that it is not easy for them to provide free legal services to those in urgent need of them currently because it is not provided for in the constitution.

The deputy chairperson of the umbrella body, Nsubuga Herbert Samuel, said that among the amendments they are calling for include ammendment of Article 28(3) 'so as to allow free legal advice and court representation and also make government responsible to provide full right to access to justice'.

Nsubuga said they also want the drafting the national legal aid policy that will promote rights to access legal services by the citizenry.

Another lawyer, John Musazi said: ''Yesterday the world marked the global day of human rights which also spells that every person should have judicial representation which is still uncommon in the mighty Uganda.''

He said that most Ugandans cannot afford to hire lawyers to represent them whenever they find themselves on the wrong side of the law and that is the reason they want to offer free services.

A local court magistrate, Yunus Magale said that he appreciates what the lawyers are advocating for.

He observed: "The majority of Ugandans are ignorant about the laws. If some lawyers are coming up to provide free legal services, it should be appreciated."

He also said that there is need to amend the constitution to that effect.

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