What is Legal Aid?

What is Legal Aid?

Legal aid refers to any kind of legal assistance that is offered to a person who cannot afford to pay for such services. This assistance can be in form of advice, legal representation in court, assistance in resolving a dispute out of court or drafting court documents for filing in court.

Did you know that the law guarantees legal aid for those who cannot afford?

Article 48 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides that, “the State shall ensure access to justice for all persons and, if any fee is required, it shall be reasonable and shall not impede access to justice.” This means that it is the obligation of the government to ensure that there is justice and equality for all. Obstacles to the process of accessing justice should be removed.

To achieve the benefits under Article 48, the National Assembly passed the Legal Aid Act, 2016. The Act came in to ensure that there is a framework within which human rights and fundamental freedoms are protected and dignity of individuals and communities preserved. The Act has also established the National Legal Aid Service which is the government entity mandated to provide legal aid and accredit other legal aid providers including governmental and non-governmental institutions.

Avenues for getting legal aid:

There are several avenues that are provided for provision of legal aid. The National Legal Aid Service is the premier institution in Kenya created to provide legal aid. In addition, there are other governmental and non-governmental institutions which exist to offer legal aid services to members of the public. These institutions provide legal aid once they have been licensed by the National Legal Aid Service as Legal Aid providers. However, as at this point in time, the rules governing the licensing of these institutions are yet to be operationalized.

The National Legal Aid Service has offices in Nakuru and members of the public can visit there and apply for legal aid. It is instructive to note that before a person is given a certificate for legal aid, there are certain conditions that must be met.

Egerton University Faculty of Law Legal Aid Project (FOLLAP) is one of the institutions that is currently offering legal aid in Nakuru County, with the support of the European Union and UNDP Kenya through the Amkeni Wakenya flagship. In this project, FOLLAP has provided various avenues through which a person can get legal aid. These include the calling through our toll free lines, visiting our offices for further assistance or meeting our legal experts during mobile legal aid clinics at the grassroots areas.

Matters in which you can seek legal aid

Legal Aid is offered in various deserved cases but there are certain cases that are not considered. The following do not qualify for legal aid as per the Legal Aid Act.

  • A company, corporation, trust, Public institution, civil society, Non-Governmental Organization or other artificial person are not eligible for legal aid.
  • In matters relating to tax
  • In matters relating to the recovery of debts.
  • In bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings
  • In defamation proceedings- these are cases where someone is complaining that his/her name has been tarnished by publication of false information.

Members of the public seeking our services are encouraged to visit offices or contact us to identify whether their case qualifies for legal aid.

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