Pro Bono Lawyers Get Rewarded For Their Service to Humanity

DSC_0302The Speeding up Criminal Justice Project of the Justice for All Programme is a DFID funded intervention introduced, among other objectives, to address in a holistic manner the challenge of high number of awaiting trial detainees confronting the Nigerian Criminal Justice System.

In accordance with this goal, in 2013, PRAWA established two different models of a Clearing House System as pilot projects both in the FCT and in Enugu State. These were achieved in partnership with the Legal Aid Council and the Nigeria Bar Association.

A Clearing House facilitates the efficient provision of pro bono legal advice and acts as an intermediary between persons that need legal assistance and lawyers that possess the requisite skill for the service. Its underlying purpose is to complement the services of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON) and not to substitute it.

The Enugu pilot phase of the project was implemented from November 2013 through November 2014. In December 2014, using the platform of the Enugu Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, certificates were issued to lawyers who provided pro-bono services under the scheme while awards were presented to two lawyers who distinguished themselves in the course of rendering the required services to awaiting trial persons.

It is envisaged that this tradition of incentivizing pro-bono services would become a national event; possibly under the recent national roll out of the Clearing House by the Nigeria Legal Aid Council.