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LAB urges NGOs to register or face consequences

Winifred Hannah Koroma

April 3, 2017 

With two months left for the provisional accreditation of Legal Aid Service Providers, the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles, has again called on those concerned to get accredited by 31 May 2017, which is the deadline for the exercise.

Giving update on achievements since March 1, Ms. Carlton-Hanciles disclosed that eleven legal aid organisations have so far collected Accreditation Forms from the offices in Freetown and Makeni.

“We have not had individuals engaged in the provision of legal aid – lawyers and paralegal – picking up the forms, even though there are many around the country. We have written to the Sierra Leone Bar Association to reach out to members engaged in providing legal aid,” She said.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles has warned that on the expiry of the three-month deadline for Accreditation, those who would not be accredited should not provide legal aid, because it will be an offence under the Legal Aid Act 2012 to do so.

“The Legal Aid Act 2012 is very clear on the consequences for non-compliance. This is why we are going the extra mile to encourage the Legal Aid Service Providers to be accredited,” she said.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said that as part of their efforts, the Board would be meeting with donors and the diplomatic community to brief them on the exercise and canvass their support next week.

 “They will have to provide assistance to legal aid providers that are accredited by the Board,” she said.

“The meeting will also discuss a few concerns regarding the modus operandi of some donors. The Board has observed that some donors also provide legal aid services. The position of the Board is that donors cannot implement legal aid programmes.”

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