, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – The number of people with access to the courts is envisioned to broaden with the inauguration of the National Legal Aid Service Board.
The Board, Attorney General Githu Muigai said at the launch on Monday, will offer free legal services to needy Kenyans more so the children, women, and people with disabilities including inmates on death row.
“Its mandate will be to deliver a legal aid throughout the 47 Counties of Kenya and to do so efficiently and in a manner that enables justice to be done,” he said. “It will make the playing field much more even between those who have resources and those who have no resources.”
The AG said the many who resorted to violence to resolve their disputes out of a sense of disenfranchisement would have no need to once the board’s services are running full steam by mid next year.
“At the moment we have 15,000 advocates on the roll of the Law Society of Kenya and unfortunately they are insufficient for a population of 45 million people and we are doing anything we can with the Universities and their law schools and with our own Kenya School of Law, to increase the number, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. We want lawyers that are competent, that are going to help the court administer justice in an expeditious manner,” he said.
In order to reach more Kenyans, the Attorney General said he would be reaching out to Members of Parliament and the county governors, for them to set aside a certain percentage of their funds to offering legal aid.
In this financial year, the board has Sh150 million, which he said will largely be used to set up the infrastructure.
“There is an eligibility criteria because the intention of the legal aid scheme is not to provide services to those who can already afford…,” he said.
Nazima Malik will be the chairperson of the board.