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LEGAL AID BUREAU GETS PARLIAMENT’S SUPPORT ON PARALEGAL REPRESENTATION
By Meclina Chirwa
The Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament has recommended that the justice system allows paralegals from the Legal Aid Bureau to represent clients in courts.
Officials from the Legal Aid Bureau, a statutory body tasked with providing legal representation to those without ability to hire private lawyers, pitched the idea to Lawmakers on Wednesday at a meeting in Lilongwe.
Speaking in an interview, Vice Chairperson of the Committee Peter Dimba said, "The move will help reduce a backlog of cases."
According to Dimba, the bureau has limited human personnel to represent clients in court hence frustrating delivery of justice.
"The committee will soon engage the Ministry of Justice to map the way forward." said Dimba.
The Legal Aid Bureau has 35 paralegals and 25 lawyers, a situation its Director Masauko Chamkakala described as inadequate staff in relation to amount of cases the office receives.
Chamkakala had noted resistance by some quarters to calls to accord paralegals opportunity to represent clients was based on unfounded fears such move could erode the job market which currently has 500 practicing lawyers.