Legal Aid in Zambia: Does it guarantee equality before the law?
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It is estimated that today, about 80 percent of all Zambians are living in abject poverty. This means that these cannot afford private legal representation before the courts of law. The paper therefore analyses the ability of the Zambian legal aid scheme to provide effective legal representation to the poor which representation can effectively equate that accorded by private legal practitioners. The paper highlight the importance of equality before the law and the need to ensure that all those who come before the law are accorded legal representation to help them prosecute or defend cases before courts of law.The paper shows that while the legislation for the provision of legal aid in the country is comprehensive and adequate, its provisions have been rendered ineffective because of a number of problems that the Department of Legal Aid is facing in its effort to provide legal services to the poor. This situation has not been helped much by the participation of Non-governmental Organisations and the Law Association of Zambia despite the important role that these organisations are playing. The paper therefore calls for the need to reform the Legal Aid scheme in order to make it more effective and improve its ability to provide legal services to the poor which can equal the services provided by private legal practitioners. If this is not done then it will mean that the Zambian legal aid scheme does not guarantee equality before the law.
- Law