• Sunday, Nov 17, 2019
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Chief justice: Legal aid, pillar of access to justice

  • Published at 11:15 pm May 5th, 2019
File photo of Bangladesh Supreme Court Dhaka Tribune

Legal aid is one of the tools to establish rule of law

Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain says legal aid is the pillar of access to justice.

Terming legal aid as one of the tools to establish rule of law, preserving human rights, and ensuring a people-friendly judiciary, the chief justice on Sunday said there is no alternative to providing legal aid.

The chief justice said this addressing a discussion on “Government Legal Aid in High Court: Ongoing Process and Expectations,” at the Supreme Court, marking Legal Aid Day.

The Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee and Manusher Jonno Foundation jointly organized the program.

“Judges also have to take effective measures to dispose of legal aid cases,” said the chief justice. 

Chief guest, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, said: “Laws related to legal aid have to be included in law school curiccula so that students can learn details about legal aid services.”

Legal aid on government’s expense right of poor

“Legal aid at government expense is not charity: it is a right of poor and destitute people in the country and an obligatory duty of the state,” he said.

The chief justice requested lawyers to take initiatives through the bar council and local bar associations to provide legal aid free of cost, or for a very nominal fee. 

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Advocate Anisul Haq, said a permanent legal aid officer and seven required posts for it have been created in the Supreme Court’s legal aid office. 

The district legal aid office has been updated with an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) corner, said the minister, adding: “Poor and helpless people are now enjoying legal aid services, including ADR, from this office.” 

Among others, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, Supreme Court Bar Association President, AM Amin Uddin, National Legal Aid Services Organization Director, Aminul Islam, and Manusher Jonno Foundation Executive Director, Shahin Anam, were also present at the program.