JIS News

The Legal Aid Council (LAC) Mobile Justice Units have resumed controlled community visits around the island.

The units are equipped with legal consultants from the LAC who provide advice on various matters to Jamaicans, free of cost.
In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Council, Hugh Faulkner, said the visits on June 3 to Manchester and on June 4 to St. Ann went smoothly.

Between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on both days, a total of 34 persons visited the locations. This compares to the 300-plus persons who turned out in February for the visit in St. James.

“At the Mandeville location, we had about 10 clients. Given that it was a first run and we have to test how the system works, we never had a problem with that. The three areas persons sought advice on or had issues related to, were estate matters – Letters of administration for people who did not leave a will and probate for those who did. We also dealt with divorce and criminal matters,” Mr. Faulkner noted.

The unit’s visit to St. Ann was facilitated at the St. Ann Justice Centre. The centres will be used across the country during visits for extra meeting space with one lawyer and a client.

Mr. Faulkner said the Council has implemented measures to secure a safe environment when the units visit the parishes, given the protocols in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We only entertain one or two clients at a time in the mobile unit, given that we have two lawyers. We have the adequate six feet apart maintained in the space; sanitisation, which will take place; and the wearing of a mask, which is mandatory. We have to secure the safety of our clients and our staff,” he emphasised.

Attorney-at-Law and Legal Consultant with the Mobile Justice Unit, Mishka Anderson, said persons who turned out adhered to the Health Ministry’s recommended social distancing practices.

“So, at the St. Ann Justice Centre, they placed chairs six feet apart, so everyone was seated until it was their time to come in. Everyone had their masks, they were sanitised, and the areas that they sat were sanitised before and after they left,” Ms. Anderson explained.

Persons visiting the St. Ann Mobile Justice Unit received advice on expungement, matters pertaining to criminal records, divorce, land matters, and personal and employment injury.

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