The recently launched Legal Aid Council (LAC) website will ensure that citizens have easier access to services and information provided by the Council.
Legal Officer, LAC, Kerona Spence, said the dedicated website, developed in-house at the Ministry of Justice, is the latest addition to the Council’s social media platforms as it seeks to create greater public awareness about its legal-aid resources.
“We have Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and now our website. It was created with every Jamaican in mind,” she said at the launch held on Wednesday (September 4) at the Ministry of Justice, Constant Spring Road, St. Andrew.
The site, which can be accessed at legalaidcouncil.moj.gov.jm, highlights the services and programmes of the LAC.
These include consultation, legal information, application to relist for matters adjourned sine die, petitions to the Governor-General, and application for review of inmates held at the Court’s pleasure.
It also provides information on assistance provided in procuring experts to advance the case of the defendant, such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in relation to sexual offences; handwriting, sign language and interpreter; as well as legal representation for suspects and accused in criminal matters.
The Legal Aid Act and Regulations are mounted on the website, and there are details about the internship programme, which offers real-world experience to law students. Interns are able to witness first-hand criminal practice by attending court, assisting clients from diverse backgrounds and circumstances, and through various assignments given by the Council.
Listed on the website is the panel of attorneys in service to the Council. “The Legal Aid Council has approximately 730 attorneys. Over 200 are Senior Counsel and 11, Queen’s Counsel,” Ms. Spence noted.
The LAC provided legal assistance for 2, 484 cases in the Parish Courts during the 2018/2019 fiscal year, representing a 17.3 per cent increase from the previous fiscal year.
Legal aid representation was also provided for 2,821 persons who were unable to afford legal fees, through duty counsel representation.