ATC081022: Report on Legal Aid Guide, 2008
The Portfolio Committee on Justice & Constitutional Development, having considered the Legal Aid Guide, 2008, reports as follows:
1. The Committee believes that it is not reasonable that we have the choice of either accepting or rejecting the Legal Aid Guide, and may not propose any amendments to it. We feel that consideration should be given in the new Legal Aid Board legislation referred to below to the Committee having some appropriate form of role in the finalisation of the Guide.
2. The Committee is reasonably satisfied with the Guide, but would have preferred more time to apply our mind to the Guide. However, with the limited number of sittings of Parliament in view of the pending elections, the Committee had no choice but to process the Guide expeditiously. The Committee is able to adopt the Guide, with these reservations, because it has already previously considered some of the key issues in the Guide during formal and informal exchanges with the Legal Aid Board, Ministry and Department.
3. The Committee notes that the Legal Aid Act was passed in 1969 and has been amended on several occasions since then, and that a new Legal Aid Bill that is consistent with the 1996 Constitution and addresses new issues that have arisen since 1994 is being drafted. The Committee urges the Ministry to introduce this Bill to Parliament within 2 years of the new five-year term of Parliament.
4. Consideration needs to be given in the new Bill to the Legal Aid Guide being considered by Parliament every two years instead of every year.
5. The Committee expresses its concern that it took so long for the Guide to be introduced to Parliament, but expresses its appreciation to the Ministry, Department and LAB for finalising the Guide expeditiously following an agreement 6 months ago to do so.
Report to be considered.
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