The Legal Aid Commission (LAC) operates through three functional Divisions; the Citizens Advisory Division, the Public Defenders’ Division and the Alternative Dispute Division.
CITIZENS ADVISORY DIVISION
The Citizens Advisory Division of the Commission is principally in – charge of civil litigation on behalf of our indigent clients. Established under the Commission’s Act, (Act 977), the Division is charged with the responsibility of offering free legal advice to citizens, designing and carrying out educational programs with the view to promoting understanding by the public of their rights and responsibilities under the law, among a host of other duties.
The Public Defenders’ Division is one of the Division of the Commission which is pivotal in the discharge of the duties imposed on the Commission by the relevant laws. The Division is principally staffed with lawyers who are engaged in criminal ligation on behalf of the indigent – accused persons. Among other duties of the Division include assisting persons in need of legal assistance for the realization of the right of equality before the law and to fair trial. The Division acts as a public defender for the realization of article 14, 17 and 19 of the Constitution, ensuring that a person who is arrested, restricted, detained or accused of an offence is afforded the appropriate legal assistance, it provides also legal aid to a person in police or prison custody as well as providing legal aid for the juvenile among other duties imposed on the Division.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Division of the Commission is one of the three Division established by Act 977. Its duties are chiefly to assist disputants to resolve their dispute through the use of the tool of mediation without having to resort to courtroom litigation. Indeed, the ADR Division attempts resolution of all disputes which are reported to the Commission which are amenable to meditation. The Division functions include to mainstream effectively, ADR mechanism in the operations of the Commission, assist persons in dispute to arrive at a compromise among others.