Chief Justice advocates for change in legal aid funds to help poor

Chief Justice David Maraga wants the law regulating how funds for free legal aid are used changed.

In seeking amends to the Legal Aid Act, the CJ wants the judiciary to have full control of the funds to facilitate free legal aid to poor Kenyans.

Speaking in Tana River County after officially opening the Garsen High Court, Justice Maraga said the Judiciary lacks full control of the funds allocated to the free legal aid fund, which is administered by the Attorney-General’s office.

“This has posed great challenges and we urge the Legislature to amend the Act with a view to putting the fund under the Judiciary,” he added.

The CJ said if the aid is under the Judiciary, it will go a long way in addressing the challenges faced by the public in accessing justice.

Chief Justice Maraga was responding to leaders in Tana River County who had requested him to consider establishing a budget of at least Sh1 million per county resident judge to cater for free legal services.

Governor Hussein Dado and Mr Danson Mungatana told the CJ that many residents could not afford advocates due to high legal fees.

Mr Mungatana, an advocate, urged the CJ to consider extending legal aid, which currently benefits murder suspects, to other offenders in civil cases.

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