NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – The government has launched an action plan on legal aid that will be critical to ensuring access to justice for all Kenyans.
Speaking during the launch on Monday, Attorney General Githu Muigai stated that the National Action Plan on Legal Aid 2017-2022 will provide guidelines for the provision of accessible legal aid in Kenya.
The AG said this will streamline accessibility of legal aid to all Kenyans, especially the poor and vulnerable.
“The guidelines I believe will provide a complete paradigm shift in the justice system of Kenya which I believe will be replicated in other African countries and of course the rest of the world. All along, we have had various opportunities to use our collective synergies, skills, resources and experiences to deliberate upon the missing links in the justice process,” he said.
He stated that the action plan is in line with international best practice in the promotion and protection of human rights.
“The launch of the National Action Plan on Legal Aid, the first one in this region and in our country is an indicator of the government’s commitment to ensure access to justice for all as enshrines in our constitution and also in line with international best practices and standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” he pointed out.
The National Action Plan on Legal Aid was developed through consultations by the National Legal Aid Service which works under the AG’s office.
“Provision of legal aid as practiced in the country has not had any clear institutional and coordination framework in which to operate, but now state and non-state actors have a framework to provide accessible legal services for Kenyans,” the AG said.
The chief legal adviser to the government also said that the action plan was meant to facilitate the full implementation of the National Legal Aid and Awareness Policy, 2015 as well as the Legal Aid Act 2016 in line with the Kenyan Constitution, 2010.
“The Constitution obligated the State to ensure access of justice to all persons and to protect the rights of every accused person by ensuring they have a fair trial and an advocate is assigned to them at the expense of the republic,” he stated.
The AG added that the action plan was also in line with international best practices in the promotion and protection of human rights.
NLAS worked closely with State and non-State actors that provide legal aid in Kenya so as to formulate the plan.