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Regional News of Thursday, 15 October 2015

Source: GNA

'Paralegal is not a threat to legal profession'

Mr Yahaya Alhassan Seini, Executive Director of Legal Aid Ghana, on Tuesday said the role of paralegals was not a threat to the legal profession.

He said paralegals are not lawyers or aspiring to be one, but rather providing legal assistance to ensure quick settlement of cases.

Mr Seini said this at the launch of the 2015 edition of the Legal Aid Week in Accra, on the theme: “Access to criminal justice in Ghana, the role of paralegals.”

He announced that the Legal Aid Scheme would be providing assistance to all who suffer injustice as a result of corruption or incompetence by actors in the justice system.

He said corruption and other forms of impropriety in justice delivery affect the indigent and the vulnerable negatively, hence the need to give such victims the needed support.

He said the Scheme, with the assistance of United Nations Development Programme, is engaging a consultant to map out the existence and nature of legal assistance provided across the country to be able to establish a network of providers, minimise duplication of efforts and standardised the assistance enjoyed by Ghanaian residents.

He commended the media for extending knowledge about the existence of legal assistance to the poor and vulnerable in need of justice and called for more extensive coverage.

Mr Suleiman Ahmed, Director, Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, said the Legal Aid Scheme is not getting the needed attention and expressed the hope that the week celebration would provide the needed sensitisation.

He said if the paralegal system is fully accepted by stakeholders, the Ministry would help provide training programmes to equip all interested people.

He appealed to donors and institutions to assist the Scheme in rendering their service.

Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Chairman of the Legal Aid Board and Justice of the Supreme Court, urged stakeholders to help in the work of the Scheme and entreated members to be resolute in the discharge of their duties.

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