Insaf Network Pakistan (INP) has launched Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP) Project in 13 districts from 1st July, 2015 under Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE) Programme with main goal is to improve Access to Justice for poor, disempowered and marginalized segments in southern Punjab and Sindh. These 13 districts are: Southern Punjab (Multan, Muzaffargarh, & Rajanpur) and Sindh (Sukkur, Ghotki, Kashmore, Larkana, Jacobabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas, Umerkot, & Tharparkar). The project will end on 31st March, 2016. The main outcomes of the project are:
1) Citizens are better aware of their rights; voice their grievances, facilitated access to redressal options;
2) Selected state run institutions at sub-provincial level better respond to citizens’ demands for the protection of legal rights and
3) Enhanced benefits of INP through integration with EDACE partners and collaboration with other similar programmes and projects.
Key Components of Project:
Component A; Awareness Raising on Rights (Sukkur & Ghotki):
Working in tandem with EDACE district level partners and other CSOs a legal awareness campaign will be conducted. This will be done through mass and targeted awareness campaigns such as radio, cable, IEC material, seminars, corner meetings, door to door visits, mobile legal awareness clinics, legal katcheries (Community gatherings) and other tools of awareness.
Component B; Provision of Legal Aid through District and Tehsil Bar Association Legal Aid Committees (Jacobabad & Kashmore):
INP will establish a legal aid centre in District/Tehsil court premises. It will sign a MoU with District Bar and provide legal aid through District Bar Legal Aid Committees. A proxy means testing (PMT) Performa will be used to determine the eligibility of legal aid (this will not be applicable to victims of domestic violence or women victims of violence). This legal aid centre would cater to referrals from EDACE partners as a priority case.
Component C; Community Paralegals:
INP in coordination with EDACE and other stakeholders (OSI, EU, UNDP) will develop a uniform paralegal module. This module will include paralegal performance tracking and case referral tracking system (a Performa). As part of this project, INP will also host the secretariat of “Community Legal Services Forum” formed as a result of Bhurban Round.
Component D; Resurrection of District Legal Empowerment Committees
(DLECs) in 13 target Districts (Multan, Rajanpur, Muzafargarh-Punjab and Sukkur, Larkana, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Mirpur Khas, Tharparker, Umerkot, Karachi & Hyderabad in Sindh): INP has a demonstrated experience of resurrecting DLECs. The strategy is two pronged:
a) Firstly to capitalize on the fact that District and Sessions Judge (D&SJ) refers cases of the poor to District Bar Legal Aid Committees (DBLAC) but wherever the DLECs are inactive this referral lacks any monetary incentive. However DBLAC do not refuse the referral for D&SJ. DLECs are allocated a budget; if the referral to DBLACs is incentivized through DLECs allocated budget it becomes more efficient and effective.
b) Secondly DLECs have a local CSO as a member. INP will get its member/partner organization to be selected as CSO member of DLECs. This induction will ensure the regular meetings of DLECs and regular case referrals for legal aid.
This resurrection is to provide for an alternative, sustainable and institutionalized structure for legal aid.
Component E; Increasing Women Participation in Legal Profession
in 13 target Districts (Multan, Rajanpur, Muzafargarh-Punjab and Sukkur, Larkana, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Mirpur Khas, Tharparker, Umerkot, Karachi & Hyderabad in Sindh): As an ancillary but targeted output INP will refurbish women friendly spaces for the female lawyers and will also ensure inclusion of women lawyers in DBLACs. INP will also launch apprenticeship program for female law graduates in rural districts of Punjab and Sindh with few to none female practicing lawyers.
Component F; Legislative reforms initiated by LJCP supported through Rule of Law Network:
INP will establish Rule of law Network which will become the Voice & Accountability of Civil Society on Justice Issues in Pakistan.
Component G; Integration: INP’s work will be integrated with other EDACE’s partners as follows:
- Developing a menu of legal rights for EDACE’s other partners legal awareness campaigns and cross referrals
- Provide technical assistance on a uniform module for paralegals (as agreed by Community Legal Services Forum).
- Support efforts for amending legal aid rules of PBC and other reform initiatives.
Component H; Collaboration:
INP will collaborate with other Rule of Law, Access to Justice and Legal Empowerment Programs (Access to Justice in Punjab by EU, Rule of Law in KP by UNDP, Access to Justice for Vulnerable Populations in Pakistan by TAF, and Legal Empowerment Project by FOSIP) in different areas, primarily:
- Hosting the secretariat of Community Legal Services Forum
- Developing a uniform paralegals module
- Referrals of cases to other Legal Aid Centres (NGO based and outside the court premises model) through directory.
- Best practices for successful implementation