A. Legal bases for promulgation of the Legal Aid Policy
Article 10 (2) of the Protocol to the African Charter On Human and Peoples' Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights provides that:
‘Any party to a case shall be entitled to be represented by a legal representative of the party's choice. Free legal representation may be provided where the interests of justice so require.’
Rule 31 of the Rules of Court also provide for instances when legal assistance will be provided. It states that:
‘Pursuant to article 10 (2) of the Protocol, the Court may, in the interest of justice and within the limits of the financial resources available, decide to provide free legal representation and/or legal assistance to any party.’
It is in this regard therefore that the Court has promulgated a legal aid policy in respect of the Court’s legal aid scheme. (Click here to downlaod the Legal Aid Policy in PDF)
B. Policy guidelines for implementation of the scheme
1. Entities eligible to receiving legal aid
Only individuals and groups of individuals can qualify for legal assistance.
2. Criteria for determining eligibility for qualification for legal aid
3. Categories of expenses that will be supported
4.The scale of fees to be applied in paying counsel under the scheme will be in lump sum as follows:
The scheme will cover travel expenses for one lawyer and DSA applicable under the AU Rules and Regulations. Travel by air shall be on economy class. The total amount for travel expenses and DSA for those travelling from East and Southern Africa should not exceed USD 3200 and for those travelling from Central, North and West Africa should not exceed USD 4200.
5.The stage of proceedings in an application for which legal aidbe provided
Legal aid may be provided once an application is filed. An Applicant can make a request for legal aid at the same time he or she files the Application or any time thereafter, by filling out the Application for Legal Aid Form.
6.Management of the scheme
7. Oversight of the scheme
The Registrar shall send monthly reports on the scheme to the President and quarterly reports thereon to the Court.
8. Funding of the scheme
The scheme will be funded through AU Member States’ assessed contributions. Voluntary contributions from AU Member States and cooperating partners’ voluntary contributions made to the scheme will be managed through a Trust Fund.
9.The Court may issue directives and regulations on the legal aid scheme as necessary.
10. Forms required to facilitate and regulate applications: