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Community Legal Services

Section 7 (1)(d) of the Legal Aid 2016 mandates the National Legal Aid Service (NLAS) to undertake and promote research in the field of legal aid and access to justice with special reference to the need for legal aid services among indigent persons and marginalized groups which includes provision of Community Legal Services.

1.What is Community Legal Aid Service?

This is taking Legal Aid to the public at the community level. It encompasses a range of legal aid and support provided to individuals and communities, particularly for those who face financial, social, or systemic barriers to legal assistance.

2.Why legal aid to the community level?

The common people are the vulnerable members in the community. Legal Aid provides free legal services to the marginalized, vulnerable and needy persons who are unable to afford the services of an advocate like people in marginalized regions and those incarcerated in prison.

3.Community legal services also entail the following:

Legal Advice: Offering guidance and advice on various legal matters, including civil matters, criminal matters, children matters, constitutional matters and matters of public interest. Representation: Providing legal representation for individuals who cannot afford advocates in court proceedings or administrative hearings.

Education and Outreach: Conducting legal aid clinics, seminars, and outreach programs to educate communities about their legal rights and responsibilities.

Referrals: Directing individuals to other relevant services or agencies when their legal needs fall outside the mandate of NLAS.

Advocacy: Advocating for policy changes and reforms to address systemic issues affecting marginalized communities and individuals.

Pro Bono Services: Recruiting and coordinating volunteer lawyers to provide free legal assistance to low-income individuals and underserved communities.

Community Development: Working collaboratively with community organizations and stakeholders to address legal issues within the broader context of community development and social justice.