JIS News

Donald Johnson had journeyed all the way from Santa Cruz in St. Elizabeth to attend the inaugural Legal Aid Saturday held on January 23 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston.
He felt compelled to attend to get information relating to a matter he has in the courts.
“I have a legal matter in the court and I thought, more or less, it was injustice being handed out to me. Seeing this advertisement on the television that the Minister of Justice would be here today, I felt compelled to come here and put my case directly to the Minister,” Mr. Johnson told JIS News.
He said he was satisfied with the response received and that the sessions were very important.
“I think they responded in the way I felt that they should respond. I think something like this is very important to inform the so called ‘small man’ that doesn’t know of his or her right, and this gives them a first hand knowledge. As a result it can be beneficial to the small man in the street,” Mr. Johnson stated.
The event was organised by the Legal Aid Council (LAC) of the Ministry of Justice to provide free legal advice to Jamaicans from all walks of life on matters such as personal injury; employment; property; intestacy/probate/letters of administration; landlord/tenant; divorce; maintenance; criminal matters; and intellectual property.
There were also presentations from Executive Director of the LAC, Hugh Faulkner, on the work of the organisation, while representatives of the National Housing Trust (NHT), Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) and the Administrator General’s Department, educated the public about the services they offer.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, in bringing greetings, explained that Legal Aid Saturday is part of the Ministry’s strategic plan to make justice more accessible to all, particularly those who cannot afford it.
“It is another of our major projects (and) is to increase public knowledge of the legal aid system through justice education at events such as these,” she stated.
She urged the scores of persons, who turned out for the event, to “make full use of the information and knowledge, listen carefully and do ask your questions because you would have gained a lot of knowledge from these presentations”.
Parish Network Manager at the DRF and one of the presenters at Legal Aid Saturday, Paul Hines, lauded the event.
“Legal Aid Saturday is a great idea .The turnout is fantastic and it is really a great idea to have members of the public get answers to questions from various Government departments about issues (that affect) their daily lives,” he stated.
He explained that his presentation focussed on giving general information about the DRF’s services to the public.
“These include the availability of mediation both at the Supreme Court level for civil matters and at the Resident Magistrate level for criminal and civil matters in every parish across the island as well as to give general information about the work of the DRF, which includes training, mediation services, restorative justice, and arbitration services”, Mr. Hines told JIS News.

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