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    • The Legal Aid Council will be advancing its recommendations for reform of the Legal Aid Act in 2015.
    • Executive Director of the Legal Aid Council, Hugh Faulkner, said that currently the Council only grants representation at the local Appeal Court.
    • Mr. Faulkner, while speaking on December 18 at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, also noted that the Council will seek to include cases that are not granted legal aid.

    The Legal Aid Council will be advancing its recommendations for reform of the Legal Aid Act in 2015.

    Executive Director of the Legal Aid Council, Hugh Faulkner, said that currently the Council only grants representation at the local Appeal Court.

    “Whichever court is the final court of appeal, the citizen, in our view, ought to have access to legal aid at that level, so we will be addressing that,” he said.

    Mr. Faulkner, while speaking on December 18 at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, also noted that the Council will seek to include cases that are not granted legal aid.

    “We will be asking, in our reform request, that the exceptions be removed, because it runs contrary to the principle of the presumption of innocence (where each person is presumed innocent until proven guilty),” he said.

    Also in 2015, the Council will be working more closely with the Citizen Security and Justice Programme III (CSJP III).

    “The CSJP will be targeting and visiting a certain number of communities and under the CSJP, we intend to visit all the communities to provide duty counsel services, where necessary, and legal advice,” Mr. Faulkner said.

    The Executive Director noted that the Council will also try to reach more Jamaicans through the use of a mobile unit.

    “Based on a field study conducted by the Ministry of Justice a few years ago, we recognised that in the rural areas, land, maintenance and custody disputes are the ones that need attention,” he said.

    The Executive Director also pledged the Council’s continued support to the residents of Western Kingston in the Tivoli Gardens Commission of Enquiry in the coming year.

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