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Legal Aid Commission: Free Legal Services for All

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The Public Defenders’ Division of the Legal Aid Commission has reiterated that all their services are completely free. The Assistant Legal Aid Officer, Rita Kunkuti Ali, made this statement during a discussion on The Law on Sunday. She emphasized that clients or accused persons should not be charged any fee, including transportation for the officer working on their case.

Ms. Ali acknowledged that the commission sometimes experiences financial constraints, and this may affect the ability of lawyers to attend court proceedings. She, however, explained that it is not within the mandate of the commission to charge clients or seek any form of assistance from them.

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According to the Assistant Legal Aid Officer, if a lawyer has a genuine financial challenge that would hinder their ability to attend court proceedings, it is not out of place for them to ask the client for assistance. She cited an instance where a lawyer, whose car had no fuel, asked the client if they could help out. However, she made it clear that this was not an imposition on the client, and it was not an entitlement for the lawyer.

Meanwhile, Jeffery Addey Adamson, another Assistant Legal Aid Officer, who was also on the show, admitted that lawyers often faced practical difficulties in attending court proceedings, including getting a vehicle to convey them to court. He advised that if a lawyer found themselves in a situation where they could not represent their client due to a financial challenge, they should write a formal letter to the court requesting an adjournment, and stating the reason for their inability to appear.

The Legal Aid Commission is a public service organization that provides legal assistance to people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer. The commission aims to ensure that all Ghanaians, irrespective of their financial status, have access to justice. For the most part, the commission has been consistent in its commitment to providing free legal services to the public.

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