Poverty should not be barrier to accessing justice – Legal Aid Commission
The Legal Aid Commission has said that poverty should not be a barrier to accessing justice.
Nancy Tetteh, a staff of the Commission said this while contributing to a discussion on how to access legal aid on JoyNews’ The Law on Sunday.
This, she explained, is because the 1992 Constitution grants to every individual right to a counsel of their choice.
“The 1992 gives unto citizens equality before the law, rights to a counsel of our choice and right to a fair trial and therefore poverty should not be a barrier in accessing justice,” she said.
Also contributing to the programme, another staff of the Commission noted that the services of the Commission are exclusively designed for the poor in society.
According to Mr. Saani Mahmoud Abdul-Rasheed the Commission offers assistance to people who have breached the law but lack the financial muscles to engage the services of a lawyer.
“Legal is available to persons who are in conflict with the law and they don’t have the necessary means to hire the services of lawyers. Poor people; people who cannot for some reason pay for legal services”, he clarified to host Samson Lardy Anyenini.
Throwing more light on the subject of legal aid in Ghana, Mr Abdul-Rasheed stated that, even though the Commission exists to serve the interest of the poor and vulnerable in society, it has mechanisms for assessing the financial status of people who apply for aid.
This he noted is due to some unscrupulous citizens who pretend to be poor in order to access legal aid.
The issue of legal aid remains of the heavily discussed issues in Ghana, with many stakeholders calling on the Commission to roll out measures to make its services more accessible to the general public, especially those in rural and urban communities.
Touching on this concern, the Commission said it exists for all persons.
The Commission, however, warned that persons who misrepresent their status to secure legal aid may be liable to a jail term of two years if they are found out.
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