The PAS as a remedy in the informal justice system

Your access to justice partner

Faith. M W

Having availed free legal aid services to beneficiaries of the formal justice sector, the PAS program identified the need to extend more of their services to the informal justice sector where a vast population is settled. Civil justice problems translate into criminal cases because of the nature of accusations involved. For example in land matters, the nature of wrangles involved result into murders, threatening violence, criminal trespass, assaults, among others. Most of the justice needs in Uganda are in the rural communities where most of the vulnerable people live without a ray of hope to find remedies to their problems. The services of community paralegals who partner with community leaders including police, LC’s, clan leaders, opinion leaders and religious leaders come in handy to reconcile parties through mediation to prevent misunderstandings escalating into major disputes, hence creating a peaceful and harmonious society. In this way disputes are resolved without going through the tedious procedures of the formal justice system.

“Focusing on interventions in the rural communities to prevent crime is a first class remedy to reducing case backlog in the formal justice system, a strategy that PAS has employed in the Community Legal Volunteers Program.

According to a HiiL report 2016, it was noted that about 75% of justice problems remain in the informal justice system and in particular 14% of people did not know what to do to receive advice once faced with a justice need. so PAS criminal justice paralegals and community play a pivotal role in passing on knowledge to those in conflict with the law, hence preventing bigger justice problems. Focusing on interventions to prevent crime is a first class remedy to reducing case backlog in the formal system, a strategy that PAS has employed through the Community Legal Volunteers Program.

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