Ghana’s Legal Aid Scheme (LAS) was created in 1997 to ensure that all citizens have equal access to justice and equal treatment before the law. Supported by the Government of Ghana, its goal is to achieve a just and equitable society by providing nationwide quality legal aid. LAS acts as a Public Defender in cases where Ghana’s socially and financially disadvantaged citizens may require legal services. With a presence in all districts throughout Ghana, the LAS works to provide information for the general public to increase their understanding of the law, and the legal services they can receive.
The LAS is fundamental to the fight against corruption, where legal aid can be offered to citizens wishing to pursue cases of corruption. Encouraging citizens to file lawsuits against public officials in cases of misappropriated funds for example can help to reduce the size of the problem. ARAP supports the training of lawyers and paralegals, as well as public education activities in such anti-corruption efforts.
ARAP, an EU funded programme, implemented by the Spanish public foundation FIIAPP has been supporting the Commission to strengthen its capacity in legal aid delivery.
This line of work is very much in line with the Government of Ghana’s strategic outlook on digitisation.
Strengthen LAC Capacity in Legal Aid Delivery
The LAS was created to provide legal assistance to vulnerable people and ensure all citizens have equal access and treatment before the law. Since the Legal Aid Commission Act 2018 was passed into law, the institution name changed to Legal Aid Commission (LAC).
ARAP helps strengthen the LAC’s ability to provide citizens with access to justice, particularly through capacity development and technical assistance.
Implementation of Legal Aid Commission Act
In 2018 the Parliament passed the Legal Aid Commission Act 2018 (Act 977), converting the Legal Aid Scheme into the Legal Aid Commission (LAC). ARAP's support focusses on reinforcing the LAC's institutional role, by developing a Scheme of Service and a proper Legal Aid Policy.