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The Ministry of Justice will spend approximately $15 million this year, on pilot projects supporting the implementation of the Weekend Duty Counsel programme, as part of the Legal Aid system.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, told the Senate on Friday that the Legal Aid Council has started to implement the programme, to strengthen access and increase use of the Legal Aid system.
Five police stations in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) – Hunts Bay, City Centre, Half-Way-Tree, Constant Spring and Greater Portmore – are piloting the project.
“The Ministry will spend approximately $15 million on these pilots,” Senator Lightbourne said, as she made her contribution to the State of the Nation Debate on February 13.
“Our citizens must be afforded access to justice, if they can’t afford it for themselves. This Government believes in that and we will deliver,” she promised.
Miss Lightbourne further noted that a policy will be developed to cover the means test that clients undergo.
“Clients for legal aid are assessed on the basis of means or more simply, their ability to pay. The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Council makes monthly visits to the Courts to establish the level of consistency with which means tests for clients are being administered. The Council will use the information garnered to assist the formation of policy in this area,” she said.
Miss Lightbourne also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to provide citizens with access to justice.
“This Government is committed to providing its citizens with access to justice when their rights have been violated. The Ministry of Justice therefore recognises that a functioning legal aid system is crucial to the protection of the rights of all Jamaican citizens”, she states.

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