Parliament of Malawi says the Legal Affairs Committee has concluded public hearings on various issues concerning access to justice brought to the attention of the committee by the Legal Aid Bureau.
Parliament says the Bureau approached the committee on the various challenges it is facing in the discharge of its mandate saying such challenges include lack of human resource [especially legal practitioners] to handle the huge case load at the Bureau.
It says the Bureau elaborated on how this is affecting access of justice for the indigent or brought before the committee among other proposals, the possibility of allowing Legal Aid Assistants to represent clients in court.
In a statement released by the Parliament of Malawi, says the committee had several roundtable meetings with selected stakeholders to discuss the issues raised by the Bureau saying before making its report to the National Assembly, the committee decided to examine the matter further and get views from other stakeholders.
Parliament of Malawi says the public hearings which were conducted on the basis of sections 56 and 56 of the Constitution and Standing Orders 151 and 170 among other legal and procedural provisions, were held in the Southern, Northern and Central regions of the country.
The Parliament says the committee will, at an appropriate time, have a meeting with the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance as key stakeholders on the issues raised by the Bureau, thereafter, the committee will prepare a report which will be presented in the National Assembly in accordance with Standing Order 185.
It says in accordance with Standing Order 186, if the committee’s report is adopted by the National Assembly, the Clerk of Parliament will transmit the decision of the National Assembly to the appropriate Ministry or Government Agency which shall then deliver a written response to the National Assembly within 14 days.
…’’Members of the general public may still make written submissions concerning this matter, these submissions should be sent to the Office of the Clerk of Parliament not later than Friday, 15th October, 2021,’’……reads the statement in part.
By Vincent Gunde