Reinventing the Rules

Discover the Latest Innovations and Lessons Learned in Rule of Law and Legal Empowerment Projects

Paralegals Assisting Informal Justice Systems in Zambia

Source: Irish Times

This week’s innovative project focuses on a pilot project by the Land and Development Association (LADA) in Zambia. The program enables paralegals trained in the formal court system to help with cases coming to the local tribal courts.

Due to distance or cost, women in rural Zambia may forego redress from formal court systems and look to the traditional courts for assistance. Cultural traditions, however, can sometimes inhibit a woman’s ability to successfully bring her case to a local court. Often times, these traditional courts may be stacked with a panel of several men and it can be viewed as disrespectful to challenge a man.

LADA ensures that paralegals work in the rural areas they’re originally from. In addition to offering free legal advice and human rights counseling, they work with local leaders to identify and assign cases that belong in state courts, such as child abductions or murder. This program is already empowering women to obtain justice for issues such as sexual violence, divorce, custody, and inheritance.

To read the original article and learn more about traditional justice systems, click here.

To read an assessment on lessons learned and recommendations for LADA’s paralegal program, click here.

Recommendations include: How to address paralegal voluntarism, extending professional networks for LADA, improving communication among paralegals, improving monitoring and evaluation, training materials, and inclusivity among community stakeholders.

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2013 by in Informal Justice Systems, Innovative Programs and tagged , , , , .

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