Access to Justice in Africa – The African Centre of Excellence

These eight countries are participating in the facilitation and collaboration towards creating an African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice.

Ghana’s justice system does not guarantee free legal services for the poor and less privileged. The idea of pro-bono work is relatively new in Ghana and not many lawyers prioritize this area – free work is generally not beneficial to the lawyers in the areas.
More than 48 per cent of Kenyans live on less than Sh95 a day, and therefore cannot access legal services nor effectively manage their court cases due to high legal and court costs and legal illiteracy.
In Malawi, the Paralegal Advisory Services (PAS) has been providing aid in criminal matters at a quite successful rate. They cover 84% of the prison population and prisoners have been reported to have become ‘more sophisticated in their understanding of the law and court procedure’.
As a country emerging from a recent period of intense conflict involving genocide every sector of society in Rwanda was affected from infrastructure to the law and justice system. Following the truth and reconciliation process, the government now retains its commitment to ensuring justice.
Sierra Leone
In the aftermath of the war, international donors and the government embraced the use of community-based paralegals as a way to advance justice, particularly in rural areas
South Africa
Despite a beautifully crafted constitution, the effects of Apartheid are still a significant part of life in South Africa, and community workers in rural areas work to achieve reform in areas of housing, land policies, education and health care.
The Zambian Constitution enshrines the right to counsel of one’s choice, as well as a right to legal aid ‘in accordance with the law enacted by Parliament for such purpose’.
There is very little legal assistance available in Zimbabwe. The civic freedom monitor for Zimbabwe states that the human rights situation has not improved during the lifespan of the Inclusive Government (IG).