Legal aid bureau seeks support

The coun Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) has called for greater resource support to the Bureau, to ensure that all criminal defendants receive quality legal representation regardless of their financial circumstances.

This is according to the bureau’s Director Masauko Chimkakala who was speaking on Saturday at the end of collaborative training session, organised by British legal NGO Reprieve and law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

According to Chimkakala, at the training all the LAB’s lawyers from all the four regional offices took part in the session that shared best practices in creating a strong investigation plan, conducting investigations.

Furthermore, all the 25 lawyers from LAB who participated in the training were also skilled how they can professionally gather evidence of torture from suspects/convicts and appeal submissions, and how to work with experts on mental health.

He said these 25 lawyers who are required to serve a population of 18 million people, are extremely stretched as they do not get even half of the modest required budget to meet their obligations, so that has an impact on our service delivery hence the call for support

Chimkakala thanked the British legal organization for organizing the training saying it was timely and that it has taken to another level all the participants.

“We are grateful to Reprieve and Akin Gump, and we look forward to continued robust partnership, with the aim of assisting as many clients as possible, to the best of our capabilities,”

“LAB remains committed to rendering its statutory obligation, and so apart from continuing to demand more funding from government, we welcome all stakeholders to support our purpose,” said Chamkakala.

Concurring with Chimkakala, abolitionist for Reprieve Trains Capital Defence Lawyers, Alexious Kamangila said the collaborative training provided a useful platform for sharing resources, tips and information about ongoing cases.

Kamangila said this meeting has strengthened their partnership with LAB and revealed how the institution has a great crop of lawyers with passion to help the poor in criminal justice system.

Representing Akin Gump, which supports the appeals of prisoners on death row, Helen Marshall and Phil Davies were grateful for the opportunity to interact with the LAB’s excellent team of lawyers and to share their passion for assisting their clients in difficult circumstances.

“For us it is always a learning experience on the jurisprudence and domestic procedure and law, while we share the English system’s approach and international law jurisprudence,” said Marshall.

She then added that they are looking forward to future interactions and more importantly, to assisting as many people as possible.