Nigeria: Inches closer to paralegal recognition

Date: 10/31/2019     By: Aimee Ongeso
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Community Based Paralegals who work with the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, Kano, Nigeria.

On October 7th – 8th 2019, the very first National Paralegal Summit was held in Abuja, Nigeria. This summit with the theme Justice For All was a product of the collaboration between the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria and the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative.

During this 2 day summit , paralegals used the platform to showcase their work , share their experiences and highlight their relevance to the justice system. Lessons learnt in Kenya and Sierra Leone on their respective paths to paralegal recognition provided a platform for self-reflection on Nigeria’s own journey and what the future holds for Nigerian paralegals.

In Nigeria, paralegals are provided some formal recognition under Nigeria’s Legal Aid Act of 2011. Paralegals operate mostly in civil matters. Click here to find out the extent to which paralegal work is recognised and financed in Nigeria.

A great outcome of this 2 day event was: 1) An agreed code of ethics for paralegals and 2) Minimum standards for curriculum development.

Commitment

The Legal Aid Council ( LACON), through the Director General , Aliyu Bagudu, committed to issue operational licenses to recognized paralegal organizations in the Country. LACON is also in the process of providing the necessary platform for effective paralegal training, monitoring and utilization so as to make justice more accessible to Nigerians. More information here.

This summit is a good example of state- non-state actor collaboration in making justice for all a reality.

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