Equal Access to Justice Phase II
What is this Project about?
The Equal Access to Justice Project – Phase II was developed to deepen and orient the activities of Phase I of the Equal Access to Justice Project within a conflict prevention framework, and with a renewed emphasis on vulnerable communities in the North and East.
The project works with disadvantaged groups to ensure that communities have increased knowledge of their rights and are able to access and benefit from legal services. It seeks to address the causes of injustice, i.e. poverty, need for accountability and greater respect for minority rights, through its focus on priority communities/areas, including the DPs in the North and East, estate workers, women and other groups affected by conflict and/or maginalization, and build trust in the justice system and to support confidence-building through rule of law and access to justice.
In addition, A2J-II also works with service-providers, including judicial and non-judicial officers, the police and lawyers, to train them to be better able to deal with grievances experienced by disadvantaged groups.
What have we accomplished so far?
- Conducted mobile clinics in the North, East and Estate sector that have enabled over 100,000 people to apply for critical legal documentation such as birth, death and marriage certificates and national identity cards.
- Supported the Ministry of Justice to re-establish and strengthen the justice system in the former war affected areas by assisting with the refurbishment of 36 courts.
- Raised community awareness of gender based violence and women’s rights through innovative street drama approaches, while at the same time strengthening local response mechanisms including safe houses and access to legal aid for example.
- Undertook a forward looking review of the legal aid sector in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, and is now supporting implementation of the recommendations. Examples include strengthening a network of paralegal officers at the grassroots level, supporting the LAC to widen its mandate to provide legal aid not only for civil cases, but also for criminal matters, and promoting pro-bono services/legal aid amongst young lawyers.
- Extended legal aid to prisoners held on remand, especially for bail applications and supported research and advocacy on pre-trial detention, with a view to reforming the system of bail and upholding the right to speedy trial.
- Promotion of community based sentencing through working with both the judiciary and the Community Correction Department
Who Financed it?
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Delivery in Previous Fiscal Years
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- Project Start Date:
- March 2009
- End Date:
- March 2013
- Geographical Coverage:
- Nationwide, with a focus on the North, East and the estate sector
- Focus Area:
- Democratic Governance
- Programme Head:
- Rajendrakumar Ganesarajah
- Ministry of National Languages & Social Integration, Ministry of Justice, Attorney General’s Department, Judicial Services Commission, Department of Prisons, Registrar General, Registrar of Persons, Legal Aid Commission, Bar Association Sri Lanka and selected NGOs