28 February 2013

Uganda: Vulnerable Ugandans Receive Free Legal Services

Lawyers Thursday offered free legal services to the vulnerable, marginalized, and indigent in society in yet another move to ensure justice to all.

This was the second time members of the bar were carrying out the exercise as part of their corporate social responsibility after a similar one was held around the same time last year.

People with cases including land wrangles, criminal, domestic, employment, accidents, children and women's rights flocked the parliamentary gardens opposite the Kampala Serena hotel to get the services.

It was a humble gesture as lawyers clad in suits ties attended to the poor clients, registered their cases and gave then legal advice.

This year's function was held under the theme "Access to Justice for all" in all the nine pro bono desks countrywide so far the Uganda Law Society has managed to extend to.

The other desks are in Fort Portal, Jinja, Arua, Soroti, Mbarara, Gulu, Kabale, and Masindi.

Speaking at the function, Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwiine, stressed the need for justice for all including the poor, urging the lawyers not to take advantage of the poor.

"I appeal to you, as you practice, think about the poor who are the majority and can't afford the high legal fees but also need justice," said Yorokamu.

The president of the Uganda Law society, James Mukasa Sebugenyi, explained that there were about 800 advocates enrolled on the pro bono desks country wide.

After, the client is referred to a relevant advocate in his area of jurisdiction to continue with the case.

He said so far they have registered about 1, 062 cases and concluded about 600 ranging from land disputes, domestic relations, and criminal cases among others.

Sebugenyi denied that lawyers charge exorbitant legal fees, saying: "It is just because majority of our population are poor. In other jurisdictions people pay a lot of money."

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