Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says the Legal Aid Council website will create greater access to quality legal services for all Jamaicans.
Addressing the website’s launch on Wednesday (September 4) at the Ministry’s Constant Spring Road offices in Kingston, the Minister said this is a technological leap for the Legal Aid Council, and will have a profound impact on the ordinary people of Jamaica who want to access critical information for quality legal representation.
“As Head of the Ministry, I have mandated that our mission going forward is to build a first-class justice system. The launch of the Legal Aid Council website is consistent with that vision,” he said.
Reiterating the Government’s commitment to embrace modern technology to improve its services to better serve the people of Jamaica, the Minister argued that a first-class justice system requires people, irrespective of their socio-economic standing, to have trust and confidence in the legal process.
“A central ingredient for engendering trust and confidence is making information available, so that people can use that information to access services to better their lives,” Mr. Chuck said.
The Minister pointed out that new and improved technology is to be used in the courts to facilitate video-link technology for testimonies from remote locations.
The website, which was created within the Ministry, provides a comprehensive overview of the services of the Council. 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.
The Legal Aid Council also provides assistance in procuring experts to advance the case of the defendant, such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing in sexual offences, handwriting experts, sign language, interpreter, as well as legal representation for suspects and accused in criminal matters.
For her part, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Grace Ann Stewart-McFarlane, said introduction of the Council’s website is an important resource in ensuring universal access to legal aid services that should be extended to every platform.
Adding that the Legal Aid Council has proven itself to be a forward-thinking entity that values accessibility to justice for every Jamaican, Mrs. Stewart-McFarlane commended the Legal Aid Council team for their initiative in launching a dedicated website.
“The Council has been on an ardent mission to provide improved access to justice services and giving justice a human face. The provision of Legal Aid through the island’s courts, police stations and the mobile Justice Unit will be bolstered by the website, as more Jamaicans will be able to do research and make contact with the Legal Aid Council from this new platform,” she said.
Interested persons may visit the Legal Aid Council’s website at legalaidcouncil.moj.gov.jm.
The Legal Aid Council is a statutory body under the aegis of the Ministry of Justice. Its mandate is to administer an effective legal aid system in Jamaica.
It provides legal aid in criminal matters to persons of small or moderate means.