Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA) has commended the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) for launching the framework for the provision of pro bono legal services to Zambians.
PRISCCA Executive Director, Godfrey Malembeka said that pro bono in the criminal justice system is a timely step in the right direction and will change Zambia’s human rights profile.
Dr. Malembeka explained that the framework policy has been PRISCCA’s wish for many years as it appreciates the importance of legal representation for incarcerated inmates, suspects and remandees.
Dr. Malembeka told ZANIS in Lusaka that there can never be a good justice system with an absence of speedy and easy access to justice.
He explained that the framework is a vital tool that will obligate all LAZ members to represent at least one person free per year, considering the expensive legal services which an average Zambian cannot afford which has impacted negatively on access to justice.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Legal Aid Board (LAB) in providing legal representation to the indigent at a small fee (legal contribution) and are glad this will now be supplemented by pro bono services from private law firms,” Dr. Malembeka noted.
He said that pro bono will act as an effective decongestion strategy and will also go a long way in enhancing non-custodial options such as community service, suspended sentences or fines.
Dr. Malembeka hopes that all LAZ members will respect the pro bono framework guidelines and contribute towards speeding up access to justice for all in Zambia.
He further called for more sensitization across the country so that many vulnerable citizens can access free legal services.
Currently Zambia has more than 25,205 (Zambia Correctional Service, 19 May 2022) incarcerated inmates of which 4,000 are pre-trial remandees.