Many Persons Access Services of Mobile Justice Unit

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson The Legal Aid Council Mobile Justice Unit will be visiting 10 locations in May to provide free consultation, advice, and complete court assignments for clients with criminal matters.

Story Highlights

  • The Legal Aid Council of the Ministry of Justice is reporting a significant uptake of the services of its Mobile Justice Unit since its roll-out in underserved communities across Jamaica in January.
  • Some 450 persons from 24 communities received legal support through the Unit in the first three months. In January, it visited six communities and engaged 140 persons; in February, 136 persons from eight communities were engaged; and in March, 174 persons from 10 communities received assistance.
  • The Mobile Justice Unit operates out of a specially retrofitted coaster bus and is part of fulfilling a priority by the Ministry of Justice of improving access to justice for everyone, particularly those in rural and inner-city communities.

The Legal Aid Council of the Ministry of Justice is reporting a significant uptake of the services of its Mobile Justice Unit since its roll-out in underserved communities across Jamaica in January.

Some 450 persons from 24 communities received legal support through the Unit in the first three months.

In January, it visited six communities and engaged 140 persons; in February, 136 persons from eight communities were engaged; and in March, 174 persons from 10 communities received assistance.

Executive Director of the Council, Hugh Faulkner, said persons have been particularly appreciative of the services offered and have sought legal assistance on a range of matters.

“The matters that they bring range from maintenance to custody, and a number of expungement matters, as well as criminal matters for adults and children, civil and land matters, intestacy [condition of the estate of a person who has died without leaving a valid will], and probate in instances where there is a will,” he said.

He added that persons have also made queries about immigration, compensation for damage, and sought clarification about land-titling arrangements.

“We try to amalgamate all the entities to get a resolution to those matters,” Mr. Faulkner said.

An additional 350 persons were also engaged through a sensitisation session in March Pen and surrounding communities in St. Catherine, in which persons were provided with information on how to access legal aid and on what their rights are.

Mr. Faulkner said the Council is now looking at ways to expand its legal support to meet the volume of need in communities.

He said the Council has been in dialogue with the Advocates Association of Jamaica, which has offered to provide attorneys to the Unit. The Cornwall Bar Association has also offered support.

The Mobile Justice Unit will finish out the month of April with a visit to Tawes Meadows in Spanish Town on April 28, at the Tawes Meadows Football Field.

On Monday, May 1, the Unit will move to Canterbury in St. James, and will be stationed at Jackson’s Grocery at 10 Upper King Street at 10:00 a.m.

It will then be in Kencot, Kingston/St. Andrew, on Tuesday, May 2 at 86 ½ Maxfield Avenue from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at 61 Lyndhurst Road from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Other visits for the Unit will be Allman Town in Kingston on May 10; Anchovy, St James, on May 12; Majesty Gardens, Kingston, on May 16; Brown’s Town, St. Ann, on May 18; and Whitehall in St. Andrew on May 22.

It will also be in Glendevon, St. James, on May 25; Turners in Clarendon on May 29; and March Pen in St. Catherine, May 31.

The Mobile Justice Unit operates out of a specially retrofitted Coaster bus and is part of fulfilling a priority by the Ministry of Justice of improving access to justice for everyone, particularly those in rural and inner-city communities.

JIS Social