The Legal Aid Rules 2021, which have been made by the Chief Justice under S. 16 of the Supreme Court Ordinance, came into force on 8th February, 2021. Under these Rules, a three-member Legal Aid Panel will consider the grant of legal aid.
On 9th February, 2021 pursuant to Rule 4(2), the Chief Justice appointed the following persons as members of the Panel:
- The Hon. Justice Shiraz Aziz, Supreme Court Judge;
- Ms. Ashley Adams-Forbes, Deputy Director – Department of Social Development; and
- Mr. Ricardo Don Hue Gardiner, representative of the Bar Council.
Except for the Bar Council that may rotate its representative on the Panel, the appointment of members of the Panel will be for a period of one year, which may be extended from time to time. Any two members of the Panel shall form a Quorum to consider and approve legal aid applications. The Panel will meet every other week to consider applications, with the first meeting scheduled to take place on 22nd February, 2021.
Legal Aid Roster
Rule 15(1) establishes a Legal Aid Roster. The Roster will be compiled and maintained by the Registrar, and the assignment of an Attorney to a case that has been approved for legal aid will be made by the Registrar in accordance with the Legal Aid Roster. The Roster will be available from 8th March, 2021. However, by virtue of Legal Aid (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules 2021, until the Legal Aid Roster is compiled, the Registrar will continue to accept legal aid applications that permit applicants to choose their preferred Attorney.
An Attorney with a valid Practising Certificate may apply to be included in the Roster. The Roster will be revised every 180 days from the last compilation.
Legal Aid Forms
Persons who wish to apply for legal aid are now required to complete and submit Form 1 (Legal Aid Application Form) contained in the Schedule to the Rules. A duly completed and sworn application may be submitted by sending a scanned copy to email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: “Application for Legal Aid”.