On 22 October 2017, the Jahangirnagar University Chapter of Student Legal Aid Forum (SLAF) has organised a learning session titled Government Legal Aid Services: Securing Access to Justice. Held in association with the USAID’s Justice for All Program, the session was attended by more than 100 law students, academics and chapter representatives of SLAF from different universities. This learning session focused on legal aid services in Bangladesh and SLAF’s role in connection with the Government Legal Aid Services. With a motto to improve the condition of ‘access to justice’ for the citizens of Bangladesh, SLAF being a voluntary organisation of country’s law-students, regularly works to raise awareness on legal aid services among the underprivileged community.
The session was divided in two parts. First session was on the legal aid services in Bangladesh and second part was on the role of SLAF in legal aid services. The session was inaugurated with the welcome speech of Mr. K M Shazzad Mohashin, Chairman at the Department of Law and Justice, Jahangirnagar University, who insisted that law students should not be confined in the class rooms only; rather they should work to ensure justice for the poor litigants.
Among others, speakers included in the session were Mr. Kazi Yasin Habib, Assistant Director (Senior Assistant Judge), National Legal Aid Services Organisation (NLASO); Ms. Rawshan Jahan, District Legal Aid Officer (Assistant Judge), Manikganj; Mr. Md. Rabiul Islam, Assistant Professor of Law, Jahangirnagar University; and Mr. Zahirul Islam, Senior Legal Associate, USAID’s Justice for All Program.
The speakers highlighted the necessity of legal empowerment of the poor and vulnerable communities by strengthening the service delivery mechanism of the District Legal Aid Committees which are funded by the Government. They also said that slow and unresponsive court services combined with distance from service providers make ‘access to justice’ virtually impossible for the poor as they cannot afford the cost of transport and representation to exercise their legal rights.
Besides, the speakers discussed about the structure, activities and process of the government legal aid services applicable in Bangladesh at national and district levels.
Mr. Rashid Nahian, Secretary for Communication at SLAF, and Mr. Sayeed Sarwar, Treasurer at SLAF, presented on SLAF’s strategies and present activities. The learning session was ended by a vote of thanks, conveyed by Ms. Towhida Mubarak Moni, Coordinator, Jahangirnagar University Chapter, SLAF.
THE EVENT WAS COVERED BY RASHID NAHIAN, LLM STUDENT AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LAW AND JUSTICE, JAHANGIRNAGAR UNIVERSITY.