By: Janet Samuel
The Director General of Legal Aid Council (LAC), Aliyu Bagudu Abubakar has charged lawyers, students and paralegals to be above board in the discharge of their duties.
Abubakar gave the charge while delivering a paper titled: “PARALEGALISM” at a 3 Days Training Workshop for lawyers, students and paralegals organized by the Attorney General Alliance – Africa (AGAA) in collaboration with Legal Aid Council of Nigeria at the Sharaton Hotel, Abuja.
The LAC Chief Executive explained that the Training is to understand various ways of handling dispute and legal matters that concerns children, youth and women in the society.
He noted that the Training will help disadvantaged people to assert their rights without necessarily engaging the services of a Lawyer or resorting to litigation which may be time consuming and expensive.
“Worthy of note is that the Legal Aid Act 2011 is the only legislation in Nigeria that provides for the provision of paralegal services
“This empowerment is to enable the Council Improves in her services to the indigent citizens as major stakeholders in the justice sector
“As Paralegals, you have a strong role to play in encouraging respect for human rights, the rule of law and promoting peace and positive change in the society
“In view of the above, I charge you all to live above board while carrying out your responsibilities at all times
“Access to justice and the value of law are the key reasons for this collaboration, ordinary man desires to have justice but unfortunately, Lawyers are not enough so there is need for a fall back to the challenges” he said.
The LAC DG encouraged the participants to guard against impersonation which he described as criminal offence, and charged them not to allow culture, emotions or religion to weigh them during decision making.
Abubakar appreciated AGA – Africa over the success recorded at the program, describing it as the first collaboration the Council has had with the organization.
Like Oliver Twist, the LAC Boss said his outfit looks forward to more collaboration with AGA in the years ahead.
Other Speaker at the workshop include, Dorcas Oduor (Kenya), Randall Gilmer (Nevada), Jesus L. Romero (Nevada), Bamidele Ibikunle (Nigeria) and Ebelechukwu Enedah Mrs. Partner, PUNUKA Attorneys and Solicitors.
The participants were also taught; Understanding Paralegal, Skills Required of a Paralegal, Functions and Qualities of a Good Paralegal, Ethics of a paralegal and why Paralegal.
Paralegal in the Legal Aid Act of 2011 is described as any person although not admitted to the practice of law in Nigeria but performs legal tasks under the direction and supervision of a Legal Practitioner.
To a layman however, a paralegal is not a lawyer but rather, a person with the knowledge of the Law. He or she is trained to assist Lawyer in carrying out their duties.