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National Legal Aid Conference: Emerging Issues and Recommendations

MUNYONYO - The 1st National Legal Conference was held at Speke Resort Munyonyo on October 27-28, 2011 with a call to government to prioritize legal aid provision as a right as well as a necessity for promotion of public order and rule of law. It was also recommended that conference discussions should inform the on-going process of developing and reforming the policy and legislative framework, in particular, the National legal aid policy and the Legal aid Bill.

The proposed policy and legislation should be comprehensive to cover all aspects of legal aid with the Justice, Law and Order Sector tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that further discussions and consultations on the proposed policy and legal framework on legal aid are held to address the emerging issues discussed in the conference.

The Chief Justice in his keynote address applauded the great work being done by various legal aid service providers in Uganda saying that statistics showed that close to three million people received some sort of legal aid in the previous years alone. Justice B J Odoki while thanking the development partners for funding legal aid programmes further requested them to continue offering funding to the legal aid service providers and the Justice Law and Order Sector under the Legal aid Basket Fund. He also urged them to continue engaging with the country to expand the definition and scope of legal aid to cover both legal representation and assistance for civil and criminal matters.

On the same occasion, a documentary film titled Bringing Justice Home: The Real Story was premiered. Bringing Justice Home: The Real Story was filmed on location in Soroti and Lira profiling legal aid success stories. The film was produced by the Justice Centres Uganda in partnership with the Justice, Law and Order Sector.