About the African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice
The establishment of an African Centre of Excellence (ACE) for Access to Justice will facilitate comparative learning for primarily African legal empowerment programmes as well as international programmes and grow a community of best-practice. It will showcase the work of its members and draw the attention of the organised legal profession to the work of the paralegal sector in Africa. For the purposes of this project, we see the Kigali Continental Conference as a starting point for determining the way forward for such a centre.
We see the issues to be addressed as a need to find formal ways in which the role of paralegals in promoting access to justice is recognised by the judiciary. Through the hosting of the Kigali Continental Conference we will be facilitating and collaborating to achieve judicial support for the African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice.
The establishment of the Centre of Excellence in South Africa provides the African continent with a significant and relevant footprint in the legal empowerment and access to justice landscape in the world.
The Centre of Excellence will ascertain that the African indigenous knowledge on dispute resolution, restorative justice and other forms of redress are institutionalized and can be developed into academic excellence programmes.
The key outcomes of the African Centre will be to ensure:
- The creation of a space for dialogue, debate, action research and learning;
- That all processes affecting the credibility and reliability of the legal advice provided by community based paralegals are institutionalized;
- The establishment of a uniform level of entry to the profession of community-based paralegals is harmonized and a clear distinction between efforts of community based paralegals and other paralegals is established;
- The improvements in flow of information, communication and sharing of the various forms of advice giving;
- The greater entrenchment of the Recognition of Prior Learning and other training methodologies.