Hornbill Unleashed

June 22, 2017

Legal Aid services only for target groups, says Azalina

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Azalina-Othman_lawyer_600The legal services provided by the Legal Aid Department (LAD) are meant for the target groups such as recipients of 1Malaysia People’s Aid and e-Kasih.

In this regard, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said, there was a need for the department to scrutinise applications from the public to ensure that only those who qualified be accorded the services.

“Legal aid is now given according to income. For me it should not be provided to people who can afford (legal aid) but don’t want to use the services of private lawyers because of the higher fees,” she told a press conference after officiating a Legal Aid Convention here yesterday.

Also present was Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Azalina said the proposed legal counsel for target groups was one of the government’s efforts to transform the legal aid services scheme under the department which was set up to provide legal counsel and legal aid to eligible persons as stipulated under the Legal Aid Act 1971 [Act 26].

According to her, those who were eligible will receive legal counsel as well as representation in court for free or at a minimum rate that is set based on the means test on the applicant.

LAD’s case registration statistics in the first quarter of this year showed that 50 to 70% were shariah cases, mostly involving divorce.

Azalina said the perception that LAD only dealt with divorce cases and family affairs must also be corrected.

“LAD must go beyond civil or criminal. It can represent many other types of cases such as employment and so on,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said the convention that emphasised some of the new directions of LAD, would gather the views of participants of various backgrounds for the formulation of legal aid policies that would be used broadly, consistent with current needs.

Also underlined in the convention is the proposal that legal aid be accorded only to Malaysians, she added.

Source : FMT Online by Bernama



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