ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND LEGAL AID IN BANGLADESH.
SHYAM SUNDAR DAS
BACHLOR OF LAWS
DEPARTMENT OF LAW
Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh:
This paper examines “Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh”. Nowadays the Legal Aid programs are recognized internationally that is way the Government of Bangladesh tries to provide Legal Aid to the poor people and the Government also encourages the NGO to provide Legal Aid. If those organizations play vital role by providing Legal Aid then the poor people will get fair justice with the reach person. I will discuss the current information and present practice about Legal Aid and how Legal Aid can play vital role for ends of justice. I will also discuss about the role of government and NGO regarding Legal Aid. This research is required to mention the present situation of Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh that is why this research also holds this portion. There are some of laws about Legal Aid but those laws have some loopholes for that reason prescribed some recommendation in this research. I will also discuss how we can establish access to justice by Legal Aid.
Chapter – One
Legal aid is fundamental to social and collective justice. Bangladesh is a developing democratic country of the world. In a democratic society all citizen have a right to access to justice and get fair trial. The constitution of the people republic of Bangladesh 1972 has theoretically ensured access to justice, fair trial, rule of law, fundamental rights, human right, equality before law, and equal protection of law, but due to financial crisis and ignorance of law, these constitutional protections have become a fake promise to the vast majority of the people.
The third paragraph of the constitution states that it shall be a fundamental aim of the state to realize through the democratic process a socialist, free from exploitation, society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, economical and social, will be secured for all citizens.
In Bangladesh most of the people are living under the level of poverty where the poverty level is high than the other country that is why they committing crime such as theft, dacoit and murder etc and the rate of crime is also high. Most of the victims of that crime are poor and middle class family. They cannot go to the Court for ends of justice because they are poor. Again they are feared by the terror and powerful person that is why they don’t go to the Court. Where there are feared and no money how they will go to the Court and take Legal Aid it is unknown by them. In this we cannot say that it is the ends of justice and Role of Law existed.
In our country most of the people are poor and they are arrogant about Law and Legal Aid although they are victim and aggrieved person. So they can’t go to the Court and it is the bar for ends of justice.
The condition of Law and Court are so critical and high costly that’s why poor people sale their all property for going to the Court for ends of justice, can they get justice truly. The main cause that Judge and Officer of Court are bias so they don’t get justice.
The Government of Bangladesh always said that Rule of Law is existing and poor people can go to the Court easily. But practically we see that, all poor victims cannot go to the Court and they don’t get any help from the Legal Aid organization of Government. If all of the poor people get Legal Aid then we can say establishment of Rule of Law in Bangladesh.
In present situation we see that, there are many Legal Aid organizations but some organization said they provide free Legal Aid although they take money by different way from the client. In this situation poor people lose a lot of money but they don’t get Legal Aid.
The Governmental Legal Aid Organization functions are also low. They do not work properly. Most of the time the lawyer do not sit in the Legal Aid office if he sit in the Legal Aid office then he takes the poor client in his personal office by that’s way he harassed the poor people. In this situation we can’t say it is the Legal Aid provide by the Government.
The Government should make appropriate law for Legal Aid. The Government should also make necessary rule for the execution of present law. If all the organization play vital role for the implement of Legal Act then most of the poor people can get Legal Aid and which is the prerequisite of access to Justice.
The shortage of Courts and delays in the disposal of cases, along with the lack of state facilities for Legal Aid, has made the judicial system virtually inaccessible to the vast majority of the poor and disadvantaged.
Therefore, as long as poor exist in the society, Legal Aid in a given social atmosphere the developed countries like UK, USA and Canada have adopted the Legal Aid program. In these developed nations legal has been identified as an effective instrument for erasing the socio-economic disparities in their societies. It is for this reason that the benefit of Legal Aid has been extended to the deserving members of the society not as a charity but as their civil right, having the Constitutional backing and support. Legal Aid is an instrument to achieve protection in law is also embedded in the Constitution of Bangladesh.
1.2 Aims & Objectives of the Study:
It is very important to identify aims and objectives of any research. I shall describe all the goals of this research on Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh.
In present time Legal Aid organization and Governmental Legal Aid organization do not work properly that is why violation of Human Rights occurred. I shall try to find out all the obstruction, loopholes and drawbacks relating to Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh such as why they can’t properly provide Legal Aid.
The more aims and objectives of this Research such as follows:
To explore the present condition for going to the Court for Justice; To explore the Rights & privileges poor people regarding Legal Aid; To explore the status of Access to Justice and Legal Aid; To explore why Legal Aid is necessary for ends of Justice; To explore the activities and goal of the Legal Aid of NGO; To explore the activities of the Government regarding Legal Aid; To explore how we can ensure the Legal Aid for all poor people; To explore the problems of the Legal Aid Act in Bangladesh.
Then I shall try to discuss Law and Practice which exists in Bangladesh. There are Some laws but those are not properly applying in Bangladesh. For that reason I will try to prescribe some procedure to apply the Legal Aid laws for our countries people.
1.3 Research Methodology:
It is difficult to complete a research without adopting any methods. The optimum outcome of this research depends largely on the adopting of the proper methods related to the topics in the field of the proper investigation. When I prepared this research I followed the some methods i.e. the Imperial Methods, Analytical Method etc. respectively where it is applicable. The techniques of data collection followed in this research are interviewing, questionnaire, uses of documents sources. I also take helps from my teachers, friends and different website collecting the topic related information and statistic.
Though there is nothing codified about Access to Justice and Legal Aid in my academic book or magazines so it was very much tough for me to collect the information data. For this work, I need to visit in many NGOs and welfare organization.
1.4 Limitation of the Study:
This research has some limitations in true sense. The limitations reduced the scope of the study. The main limitation of the study is the time binding’s work. The time is not enough for the study.
To create any good research on any topics and subject, that time prerequisites sufficient instrument and enhance more books in university library is not sufficient for making this research on Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh.
There is no study that properly done on this topic before, so there was no perfect and proper guideline. That is another important limitation of this study.
This study is greatly held back as there is massive lacking of information on this issue. Information was inadequate. Especially the government agencies like Human Rights Organization and NGOs; statistics has a lack of tendency to update information regularly and still using the conventional or manual system for information storing, supply and apply. These are a great malfunctioning and contradiction among supplied data from govt. agencies or NGOs (Legal Aid, BLAST, Nagorik Uddyog etc). On the other hand they are not interested for sharing their information related to this topic which is necessary for this research work.
1.5 Importance of the Study:
The study has the great importance; the study will help to know about the Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh, Laws for Legal Aid and problem for poor people in case of Legal Aid.
There were no proper study on this topic has ever been done before, so a lot of new ideas have come in front of my eyes. I have got good knowledge about the Legal Aid in Bangladesh, which will help us in different ways.
I have seen that many times debates arise about the role of Legal Aid NGO and Governmental Organization. This study will help to solve the reason of debate by mentioning the appropriate role of the Legal Aid NGO and Governmental Organization and some new ideas.
I think this research will help for student, poor people and others. In our country most of the people are ignore about the Legal Aid.
If a person cannot afford legal representation, this can undermine their right to a fair trial. The right of access to a court must be meaningful and practical, not theoretical. The issue of Legal Aid provision is a continuous source of conflict between the Government and those who represent some of the most marginalized groups in society.
1.6 Scope of the Study:
The scope of this study includes the area of information required to collect and analyze regarding, the determination of the Access to Justice and Legal Aid under different Laws. The entire study will focus on the information of the Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh, how a poor people can get Legal Aid and procedure how they can go to the Court for Justice. The research consulted various secondary sources providing relevant information on the state of legal aid in Bangladesh, including websites, research papers and academic papers.
1.7 Shadow of the Whole Research:
The title of the study denotes the subject matter of the study. As the title of the Research Monograph; Access to Justice and Legal Aid in Bangladesh, it is very difficult to read the matters relating to the Access to Justice and Legal Aid which is necessary for discussion of the topic maintaining the sequence of the discussion and come to conclusion. So this subject matter being the Access to Justice and Legal Aid, the definition and meaning of the term, the legal instrument to control it according to national and international level and find out the loopholes of the existing laws.
Chapter – Two
The Concept of the Study
Legal Aid, in its common sense, conveys the assistance provided by the society to its weaker member in their effort to protect their rights & liberties.
The general meaning of the term “legal aid” therefore is a legal support, social security, social arrangement, extending and providing special assistance or help to the poorer and weaker members to enable them enforce their legal right through legal process.
The concept ‘Legal Aid’ denotes a wide meaning and includes a counseling, payment of lawyer’s fees and other incidental cost of expenses of the litigation. The concept of legal aid represents the very spirit of equality and equity enshrined in the modern notions of constitutional law, as so in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Most liberal democracies consider that it is necessary to provide some level of legal aid to persons otherwise unable to afford legal representation. To fail to do so would deprive such person of access to the court system. Alternately, they would be at a disadvantage in situation in which the state or a wealthy individual took them to court. This would violate the principles of equality before the law and due process under the rule of law.
2.1.1 Access to Justice:
The term Access to Justice is not defined in international law and has been used in different ways in different contexts. Traditionally, the term refers to opening up the formal systems and structures of the law to disadvantaged groups in society. This includes removing legal and financial barriers, but also social barriers such as language, lack of knowledge of legal rights and intimidation by the law and legal institutions.
Access to justice has, thus, two dimensions: procedural access (having a fair hearing before a tribunal) and also substantive justice (to receive a fair and just remedy for a violation of one’s rights). It is also refers not only to the courts, but also to civil and administrative processes such as immigration review or state compensation funds. Further, protection of rights must continue through all stages of the legal process, from the time of reporting a crime to the police, to following the grant of a remedy by the court to make certain that is enforced.
2.1.2 Legal Aid:
Generally we can say that, Legal Aid means legal assistance given to poor people without cost in any civil and criminal cases. A poor person may get Legal Aid if he has no enough money that means that person’s incomes are low.
Legal Aid is the provision of assistance to people otherwise unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal Aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring quality before the law, the right to counsel and the right to fair trial. 
The international commission of jurists, in the definition of the term, includes the provision of the legal advice and representation of the courts to all those threatened their life, liberty, property or reputation who are unable to pay for it.
In Oxford Dictionary prescribes that, Money that is given by the Government or another organization to somebody who needs help to pay for legal advice or a lawyer. 
In Black’s Law Dictionary prescribes that, Free or inexpensive legal services provided to those who cannot afford to pay full price. Legal Aid is usually administered locally by a specially established organization.
According to section 2 (a) of the Legal Aid 2000 prescribes that, “Legal Aid” means to provide legal aid to people who are unable to get justice due to financial position or due to different socio economic condition such as payment of lawyer’s fees etc. Thus section 2 (a) of the Act broadly defines ‘Legal Aid’ so as to include counseling, payment of lawyer’s fees and other incidental cost of expenses of litigation.
We can say that, legal aid means any kind of help for a suit or cases provided by the Government or Non Governmental Organizations to a poor person.
2.2 The Concept of Legal Aid:
The most democratic concept is that, in the eye of law all are equal and all are entitle to get justice but a person can’t get the helps of law although he has legal right because of poverty or economic degradation. In this situation the democratic concepts are valueless. The persons who are pauper or poor and the person who cannot established his legal right because of decay money that person get legal help it is called Legal Aid.
According to the new Encyclopedia Britannica prescribes that, the professional legal assistance given, either free or a nominal sum, to indigent persons in need of such help.
The Legal Aid provides personally or legal aid provide from the society for social justice. The legal aid provides in different country in different ways and in different times.
2.3 The types of Legal Aid:
We can divide the Legal Aid mainly in Two Kinds, Such as follows:
2.3.1 Civil Legal Aid: In case of Civil nature Legal Aid the party of dispute matter or the applicant of Legal Aid required Civil Remedy. The Legal Aid play vital role for the settlement of any dispute in alternative way.
2.3.2 Criminal Legal Aid: The main things are that, in Criminal Justice System the state file a case against the criminal or offender where the states are plaintiff. In that case the offender can take Legal Aid for the defense. Here the offender do not claim anything but he claims only that he is innocent.
2.4 The Distinction between Civil Legal Aid and Criminal Legal Aid:
1. In case of Civil Legal Aid the party may call an experienced person who is not lawyer any stages of adjudication for ADR. On the other hand, in case of Criminal Legal Aid should appoint an experienced lawyer.
2. The advantages of Civil Legal Aid is that the lawyer may meet with the client in yield of the court, Bar Library, Chamber and other suitable places which are considerable. We do not find that advantages in the Criminal Legal Aid. According to Jail Code the Lawyer can meet with client in Jail. It is the long term process and complicity. There is no chance to discuss with the client in Jail. The Lawyers wait when the client will come in the Court or for the help of the relatives of the client.
3. When a client get Legal Aid in civil cases and after the case the client win and get the cost of the suit then there is a system to get the cost of the suit from the client. Those systems do not exist In the Criminal Cases.
4. In case of civil Legal Aid system the lawyer can take fee in different stages of suit. On the other hand, in most of the time the lawyer take advance fee of the case in Criminal Legal Aid system.
5. If a person wants to get Civil Legal Aid that time he should fulfill three conditions such as Economic status, prima-facie case and interest of justice but in Criminal Legal Aid system it is no exist.
2.5 Rehabilitative Legal Aid:
We find another type of Legal Aid except above mentioned legal aid. It is familiar as a Rehabilitative Legal Aid. These types of legal aid are necessary after the adjudication. The Rehabilitative Legal Aid systems are applied in Criminal Cases. After the arrest of a criminal he is disconnected from his family in different stages of a case. When he gets released from the jail after punishment then he feels difficulty to stay with family and society. In this situation that legal aid helps him so much to reform his family.
Mr. A Kenneth Pye said in his “The administrative of Criminal Justice” books that, the legal problem of a poor man do not end and with a final judgment. His family needs legal assistance in civil matters while he is in prison. He needs to maintain a relationship with counsel to advice him prior to parole hearings and perhaps to prepare a motion for the reduction of sentence or a collateral attack on his conviction. It is extremely helpful to the prisoner if someone assist prison or parole authorities seeking employment for him upon release.
2.6 Who is Eligible for getting Legal Aid?
As per Rule 2 of the Legal Aid Rules 2001 the following persons will be entitled to receive Legal Aid:
Freedom fighter who is incapable of earning or partially incapable of earning or who is without any employment or whose annual income is below 6,000.00 TK; The person who is receiving old age benefit; Women and children who are victim of trafficking; Poor women who is holder of VGF card; Women and children who are acid-burnt by the miscreants; Any person who has been allocated house or plot to any ideal village; Poor widow, women deserted by her husband; Any handicapped person with earning incapability; Any person who financially incapable to protect or defend his rights in the court; Any person who has been detained without trial and incapable to defend himself due to financial crisis; Any person who is recommended by the jail authority as financially helpless or poor; Any other person who are considered by the Legal Aid Board from time to time due to the financial crisis or any other socio economic reasons or disaster.
In this guideline, the phrase “poor or financially incapable” will be used to mean persons whose annual income average is not more than 3000.00 take only.
2.7 Meaning of Legal Aid?
Article 27 of the Constitution says that all are equal before law. Constitution of the most of the countries in the world have guaranteed for equal protection of law and equality before law. The most accepted democratic concept of equality before law and of every citizens right of access to the court are meaningless it for reasons of poverty or lack of financial resources, an individual cannot take recourse to law for vindicating his lawful and reasonable rights. Where a person for reasons of poverty or defense, to help such person by any means in taking to law may be regarded as awarding of Legal Aid or Legal Assistance .
However, the concept of Legal Aid in the modern world has assumed a new meaning and greater importance; it no longer means just helping individual poor litigants; it is viewed as an urgent & very important means of attaining social justice as well as social security for the economically less affluent segment of population in the society.
2.8 The Usefulness of Legal Aid:
There is some usefulness of Legal Aid, such as follows:
Legal Aid helps in establishing rights of poor people; Crime decrease gradually; Establish rule of law; Expand mental state of lawyers; Train legal and human rights students on legal and services.
2.9 The Universal Principles of Legal Aid:
There are some universal principles of Legal Aid such as follows:
Legal Aid or assistance is applicable for the poor and vulnerable people only; Legal Aid is to be for establishing justice, equity and good conscience; Any institution may provide Legal Aid by providing advice or representation; Instruction will consider the fulfillment of all necessary conditions before considering any such application for Legal Aid assistance; For providing Legal Aid, fees if required may be realized after the case is finalized, if applicable.
2.10 The Exception of Legal Aid:
The provisions of Legal Aid providing are recognized globally in both Civil and Criminal cases. The Supreme Court of India said that, all the crimes which are relating states economy, public policy, child and women force prostitution and employ in force labor, those criminal of that offence will not get Legal Aid cost by the government.
In Khatri vs. State of Bihar cases the court held that, where the accused is involved in economic offences, or offences against law, prohibiting prostitution or child abuse or the like, there social justice may required that free legal aid service may not be provided by the state. 
In conclusion of this chapter, we can say that, if we want to establish fair justice that time we should provide Legal Aid to the poor people. I found a new idea that is Rehabilitative Legal Aid which applies in Criminal cases. The main universal rule is that a poor person may get Legal Aid and any institution may provide Legal Aid. A person may not get Legal Aid if it is against the public policy.
Chapter – Three
Historical Background of Legal Aid
At first the Legal Aid was started in Rome. The Legal Aid is chronologically developed but it got the full shape after the Second World War. In present world the Legal Aid are extend in many welfare states.
3.1 Historical Background of Legal Aid:
It is very tough to trace out the true history of Legal Aid. If we reflect on the definition of ‘Legal Aid’ then it can be inferred that the history of Legal Aid is as old as the practice of law because throughout the history, lawyers have advised and represented poor people without charge.
In the year 813 A.D. ecclesiastical lawyers were forbidden by a cannon of the Council of Mayence to argue in secular pleas except in defense of orphans or widow, and in 1179 A.D. the third Lateran Council, which issued a more specific prohibition to the same effect, made an exception on behalf of poor persons who could not manage their own causes. In the reign of Henry I the rules relating to security were relaxed for poor plaintiffs so that those who has not sufficient present security should pledge their faith to the utmost satisfaction to their power. In the reign of Edward I and Henry III, the principle was accepted that the poor should have their rights for nothing. In the 40th paragraph of the Magna Carta, 1215 it was declared that to no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice.
The first traces of the entitlement to be represented by a counsel can be traced to the Prisoner Counsel Act, 1836. Before this legislation, a person charged with felony in Britain did not have an entitlement to be represented by a counsel but, by this Act, a person charged with felony got a right to be defended by a counsel or solicitor.
The earliest Legal Aid movement appears to be of the year 1851 when some enactment was introduced in France for proving legal assistance to the indigent. In Britain, the history of the organized efforts on the part of the state to provide legal services to the poor and needy dates back to 1944, when Lord Chancellor, Viscount Simon appointed Rushcliffe Committee to enquire about the facilities existing in England and Wales for giving legal advice to the poor and to make recommendations as appear to be desirable for ensuring that persons in need of legal advice are provided the same by the State. The Committee reported in 1945 and described the existing facilities for gratuitous legal aid and advice as “a service which was at best somewhat patchy and which has become totally inadequate”. Their main recommendations were that:
Legal aid should be available in all courts; It should not be limited to those normally classed as poor, bet should include a wide income group; Those who could not afford to pay anything for legal aid should receive it free, and those should be a scale of contributions for those who could afford to pay something; The cost should be borne by the state, but the scheme should not be administered either by a Department of State or by local authorities; Administration should be carried out by the legal profession through the Law Society, which should act in co-operation with the Bar Council and should be answerable to the Lord Chancellor, who would be advised on matters of general policy by a Central Advisory Committee; The means of an applicant for legal aid should be investigated by the National Assistance Board and the merits of his case by committee of lawyers; Barristers and solicitors should receive adequate remuneration for their service under the scheme.
On the basis of Rushcliffe Committee Report, the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949 was passed. Then came the Legal Aid Act, 1964, the Legal Assistance Act, 1972 and the Legal Aid Act, 1974. Now, legal issues are dealt by the Legal Aid Act, 1988.
3.2 The Legal Aid in Different Countries:
3.2.1 Legal Aid in UK:
In UK, legal aid is administered by the Legal Service Commission, and is available for most criminal cases, and many types of civil cases with exceptions including libel, most personal injury cases (which are now dealt with under Conditional Free Agreements, a spices of contingency fee) and cases associated with the running of a business. Family cases are also often covered. Depending on the type of cases, legal aid may or may not be means tested. Although the European Courts have recently ruled that a lack of legal-aid-libel may be a breach of the right to a fair trial, it is still unclear how this will affect UK libel trials. Criminal legal aid is generally provided through private firms of solicitors and barristers in private practice. There are a limited number of public defenders. Civil legal aid is provided through solicitors and barristers in private practice but also non-lawyers working in law center and not-for-profit advice agencies.
3.2.2 The Legal Aid in U.S.A:
Beginning in the late 1800s and throughout the early years of the 20th century, the American legal profession expressed its commitment to the concept of free legal assistance for poor people in the form of legal aid societies and bar association legal aid committees. Since 1964, the United States government has supported its commitment to "equal justice under the law" with federal funding for civil legal assistance to low-income people. Today, the federal appropriation of $329 million represents less than half the resources devoted to civil legal services in the U.S. State-based civil legal services systems in all 50 states rely in varying degrees on funding sources that include national, state and local governments, Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) programs, foundations, attorney fees and private attorney resources.
Meanwhile, legal aid for civil cases is currently provided by a diverse hodgepodge of public interest law firms and community legal clinics, who often have “legal aid” or “legal services” in their names. Such firms may impose income and resource ceilings as well as restriction on the types of cases they will take, because there are always too many potential clients and not enough money to go around. Common types of cases include: denial or deprivation of government benefits, evictions, domestic violence, immigration status, and discrimination. Some legal aid organizations serve as outside counsel to small nonprofit organization that lack in-house counsel. Funding usually comes from charities, private donors, the federal government and some local and state governments. Most typical legal aid work involves counseling, informal negotiation, and appearance in administrative hearings, as opposed to formal litigation in the courts. However, the discovery of severe or recurring injustice with a large number of victims will sometimes justify the cost of large scale impact litigation. Education and law reform activities are also sometimes undertaken.
A number of delivery models for legal aid has emerged. In a “staff attorney” model, lawyers are employed on salary solely to provide legal assistance to qualifying low income clients, similar to staff doctors in a public hospital. In a “judiciary” model, private lawyers and law firms are paid to handle cases from eligible clients alongside cases from fee-paying clients, much like doctors are paid to handle Medicare patients in the U.S.
Defendants under criminal prosecution who cannot afford to hire an attorney are not only guaranteed legal aid related to the charges, but they are guaranteed representation in the form of public defenders as well. 
3.2.3 Legal Aid in Australia:
There are eight legal aid commissions in Australia, one in each state and territory. The purpose of legal aid commissions is to provide vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians with access to justice.
Our democratic society therefore depends on the premise that all Australians are equal before the law, a premise which needs to be understood in relation to the question of access. Legal Aid commissions play a defining role in achieving equality before the law by striving to ensure that all citizens, including those who cannot afford to pay, have access to the legal services they need to obtain justice.
Commissions provide access to justice by providing the following types of legal assistance:
Financial assistance to enable people who cannot afford a lawyer to be legally represented in court proceedings and other cases; Information and advice about legal rights, responsibilities and remedies; Education programs to inform the community about the law and legal remedies.
3.2.4 Legal Aid in Bangladesh:
In a democratic country it is a prerequisite that all citizens get economic and social justice. Therefore, as long as poor exist in the society, legal aid will be necessary to uphold human rights and equality. Realizing the importance of legal aid in a given social atmosphere the developed countries like UK, U.S.A. and Canada have adopted the legal aid programme. In these developed nations legal aid has been identified as an effective instrument for erasing the socio-economic disparities in their societies. It is for this reason that the benefit of legal aid has been extended to the deserving members of the society not as a charity but as their civil right, having the Constitutional backing and support. Legal aid is an instrument to achieve protection in law is also embedded in the Constitution of Bangladesh.
The Constitution of Bangladesh has in clear terms recognized the basic fundamental human rights. One of the basic fundamental rights is that all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of law. Majority people are improvised. They cannot access themselves to justice to protect and vindicate their legal rights & lawful causes. To address this problem legal aid services have been activated under the Legal Aid Act, 2000. The law provides for giving financial support to poor people to institute or defend cases in courts. Legal Aid Committees headed by the respective District Judges have been constituted with panel of lawyers in each district. A statutory body called National Legal Aid Organization has been established and there is a National Legal Aid Board consisting of 19 members. The members represent government official as well as representatives from civil societies.
The National Legal Aid Committee is looking into the hitherto neglected jail appeal matter. There are many poor convicts whose jail appeals are not properly cared and conducted in the courts. Under the Legal Aid Programme, private lawyers are being engaged to press and conduct the jail appeals in courts. Under this law programs have been taken to motivate and sensitize people about human rights.
In conclusion of this chapter we can say that, at first U.S.A was provide Legal Aid in Criminal cases and presently they also provide Legal Aid in civil cases. In UK the Legal Aid are provided in both civil and criminal cases by firms of solicitors and barristers in private practice. In Bangladesh the Legal Aid provided in both civil and criminal cases by the government and NGO. In present time most of the states of the world provide Legal Aid to the poor people and who fell financial crisis.
Chapter – Four
The Status of Legal Aid in Bangladesh
We know that justices are required by the all of citizens but the poor people cannot go to the Court for establishing their rights. In Bangladesh the most of the people are not familiar with the Legal Aid. In present situation the Government tries to aware the poor and illiterate people by arranging program about Legal Aid.
4.1 The status of Legal Aid in Bangladesh:
It is stated earlier that the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, 1972 recognized the concepts ‘equality before law’, ‘equal protection of law’, ‘rule of law’ etc. In these concepts, the issue ‘legal aid’ is underpinned. We get the flavor of legal aid in specific provisions in very limited scale in Bangladeshi Laws both in civil and criminal matters.
The Constitution of People’s Republic of Bangladesh is the Supreme Law. In Article 19 of our Constitution said that, The State should endeavor to ensure of opportunity to all citizens. On the other the Article 27 said that all are equal before law and entitled to equal protection of law. Again in Article 31 prescribes that, every has a right to get protection of law and it is recognized as a moral rights. Every citizens has rights to get ends of justice of any states. But if any person is poor that time he can’t take the shelter of Court then the purpose of ends of justice will fail.
The concept of Legal Aid was started from ancient time but this concept are executing in some cases from the few years ago in our country. In our country the lawyer personally provide Legal Aid still now. The lawyers do not take any system to provide Legal Aid together. Although different organization regionally provide Legal Aid but it does not effect in the all side of country.
In Bangladesh, most of the people are poor and illiterate. They are not aware about their rights. However, the poor people do not apply to the higher authority because of brave when they do not get basic rights. Then the general people go to the Court lastly. But the court proceeding of Bangladesh take a long time the fell confusion and can’t pay all the cost. In this situation the mechanism of Government and Non Governmental Organization are not enough. The Government direct to the every Bar Council of Bangladesh to execute the Legal Aid program beside the government.
The most of the people of our country live under the line of poverty. They are not aware about their right to execute because different economic, political and social reason. If we see the socio-economic condition that time we can say there are necessary of Legal Aid efficiently. Although some Non Governmental Organization such as Ain o Salish Kendra and Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust including more NGO provide Legal Aid to people but it is not enough according to the people.
If we want to execute Legal Aid program properly that time we should encourage the other Legal Aid organization to provide Legal Aid. The Government should arrange a program to aware the people about Legal Aid.
4.2 Legal Aid System in Bangladesh:
In an underdeveloped country, majority of the population are poor and illiterate which makes Legal Aid a necessity to uphold human rights and equality. The Government took formal initiative for enacting legal Aid laws only in 1994. However, in 1996, the resolution of 1994 was repealed because it was found that only handful of litigants actually received legal aid from these governmental initiatives. It was in 2000, when the Government in assurance of financial cooperation by the Canadian International Agency (CIDA)made an imitative to provide legal aid to indigent litigants. The Government passed the Aingoto Sohoyota Prodan Ain 2000 (Act No. VI of 2000) which provides legal mechanism and access to legal aid throughout the country. The main aim of enacting the Act is to provide legal aid to the people who are unable to get the justice due to financial crisis or due to different socio-economic reasons.
The NGOs has played a crucial role in providing legal aid support to the aggrieved in Bangladesh. Among these NGOs, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA) and Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) are playing leading role in providing legal aid. Despite of the access to legal aid in Bangladesh, the Aingoto Sohoyota Prodan Ain 2000 has some flaws. They are:
The Act does not specify cases for which legal aid can be provided; The process of consideration of application can be identified as a source of delay; In comparison with the number of legal aid seekers, the number of meetings held to consider these application falls short of requirement; The accountability of the members of the Board and Committee are not ensured in the Act; The procedure of the selection of the application is not clear in this Act; In the Upazilla and Union Committees, the inclusion of Chairman and 14 other members makes the system more complex; By section 26 of this Act, the govt. repeal the previous Legal Aid committee formed under the resolution 74-Law/1997 and seized all funds of that Committee but the fate of the applications and cases pending in the courts have not been clarified.
NGOs as an organization with expertise in the delivery of legal services to the poor are in good position to give direction to the government’s efforts. Therefore, the NGOs can play a proactive role in implementing the legal aid programme by:
Concluding as survey to access and identify the specific areas of human right violation; Make the government answerable to the dire situation of who cannot access the law; Bringing into notice the gap between the inadequacies of law and practice of the government legal aid and persuading the government to take remedial measures; Putting pressure on government by public interest litigation where government fails to the respond to the need of the for legal aid; Making the poor aware of their rights which the law of the land guarantees; Promoting social dialogues an literacy programme to uphold the importance of legal aid; Assisting government programme by to providing expertise on concerned issues.
4.3 Legal Literacy & Public Awareness: A Pre-Condition for Legal Aid Scheme:
Lack of knowledge and unfamiliarity with the system inevitabily breeds fear of the process, and fear prevents the target groups for seeking the aid of the mechanism established. The state scheme for legal aid services established in 1997 is a lucid illustration of this. Despite the availability of considerably large allocations, only an ignorable applications were submitted in the first four years of the program even in the new strategic policies and initiatives by the Government in the later years, the lion part of the fund still remains unutilized, with the exception of a few districts. This is an stark contrast to the legal aid program run by NGOs. There are reasons to believe that the success stories of these private sector successes mostly lie in the fact that these NGOs combine their legal literacy and public awareness program.
4.4 Free Legal Aid at the Cost of the Government is a Fundamental Right:
Justice D.K Basu, founder and executive chairman. Legal Aid Services West Bengal, India presented a keynote speech on structure and process for legal aid delivery system in India vis-à-vis divisions between policies and operational functions and structure in regional conference recently held on legal aid in Bangladesh. In this paper he explained that legal aid is a fundamental right. The verbatim of the relevant paragraph runs as follows;
“The free legal aid to the poor and the needy is an essential element of any reasonable, fair and just” procedure. It may, therefore now be taken as settled law that free legal aid at state cost is a fundamental right of a person accused of an offence which involve jeopardy to his life of personal liberty and this fundamental right is implicit in the requirement of reasonable, fair and just procedure prescribed by Article -21. The Supreme Court held that the legal assistance to poor and indigent accused, who is arrested and put in jeopardy if 39A BUT ALSO Article-14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. Article-14 of the Constitution mandates that the state shall not deny any person equality before the law or the equal protection of law within the territory of India.
In the aforesaid Regional Conference delegates from Canada, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan were participated and they inter alia the following recommendations:
Seminars, legal camps, symposia and workshop may be held from time to time on order to augment awareness of the vulnerable section of our population about the availability of the Government sponsored legal aid; Legal Aid clinics or centers may be set up at the Upazilla and Union Levels to provide free legal aid to the vulnerable mainly by way of consultation; Involvement of retired government servants, students, Imams, including army officials in Legal Aid services; Introduction of syllabus on legal aid program in different departments of universities and training institutions; Nationwide publicity through T.V, Radio and other national and local dailies. District information officer be included as member of the District Committee; Theatre, music and popular cultural activities in collaboration with local administration may be arranged; The District Commissioner as well as U.N.O should discuss the Legal Aid program in their monthly co-ordination meeting; Deputy Commissioner and Police Super do not like to attend the meeting of the District Committee. To ensure the presence of them at the meeting, a circular may be issued from the Cabinet Division of the government of Bangladesh so that they compulsorily attend the meeting.
The concept of legal aid represents the very spirit of equality and equity enshrined in the modern notions of constitutional law, as so in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The doctrine of equal treatment of law and fair judicial trial have found expression as one of foundations of the modern legal edifice of fundamental human rights both national and international. The notion of legal aid is thus neither a charitable sentiment nor an idle philosophical dream of a utopian project. It is rather an integral and element part of the principles of administration of justice and the Rule of Law.
4.5 The State of Bangladesh in Legal Aid Support:
The state of Bangladesh in Legal Aid support such as follows:
Situation of Bangladesh in legal aid is not that much encouraging; No arrangement at national level except few NGO’s activities; Only the needy and unable person may apply to District judge for legal aid for any appeal, review any revision of cases; Though there is such provision under District Judge for legal aid as per law, but in reality it is not sufficient.
4.6 Importance of Legal Aid in Bangladesh:
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world. The largest number of people involved in suits & cases are poor & illiterate, neither have the means nor the courage to ask for justice. Even when they muster their courage to take recourse to court of law as last resort, they cannot proceed for financial reasons. In such circumstances, if Legal Aid means then the importance of awarding Legal Aid in Bangladesh for enabling the poor to have access to legal service cannot be ever emphasized.
In conclusion of the chapter we can say that, the Right to Life and Protection of Property of general people are recognized as fundamental rights. So, the Legal Aid service is not a Charity but it is a fundamental right which also recognized by our country laws and International law. The Government and NGO think that it is their moral duty to provide Legal Aid to the poor people under considering fundamental rights.
Chapter – Five
The Status of Access to Justice in Bangladesh
It is one of the principles of Natural Justice that “Audi Alterm Partem”- Nobody should be condemned unheard. That is, before condemning a person, the judge must hear the person, if he has anything to say to prevent the miscarriage of justice.
Legal Aid is fundamental to social and legal justice. Bangladesh is a developing democratic country of the world. In a democratic society all citizens have a right to access to justice and get fair trial.
In Bangladesh the justice system are so difficult so the poor person cannot get justice. If we want to establish justice that time we should easy the justice system and Court proceedings.
5.1 The Concept of Access to Justice:
The concept of 'access to justice' has been a pressing issue in the reform of the legal system in recent times. This phrase can be used to mean access in basic terms and in socio-political terms. Impediments to equal access to justice for all - one of the highest ideals of any good legal system - includes the cost involved in obtaining legal representation and accessing the judicial system, a lack of knowledge of legal rights and the intimidating nature of legal systems and processes.
“Access to Justice” took a very much wider view of the concept. It saw “Access to Justice” as embracing three broad objectives: equality of access to legal services and effective dispute resolution mechanisms; national equity (that is, access to legal services regardless of place of residence); and equality before the law (that is the removal of barriers creating or exacerbating dependency and disempowerment). It is readily apparent that observes might have very different views as to the role of the legal system in remedying or ameliorating social disadvantage, yet each might fervently support his or her own understanding of “access to justice’.
5.2 The Right to Access to Justice:
“Access to justice refers to the ability of people to seek and obtain a remedy through formal or informal institutions of justice, and in conformity with human rights standards.
Access to justice intersects with human rights in a number of ways. First, it is itself a fundamental right as set out in Article 8 of the universal Declaration of H uman Rights: “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.”
Secondly, it is a means to protect and enjoy other rights. Thirdly, for the right to access to justice to be truly enjoyed, a number of other human rights must also be protected, such as the right to information, the right to physical safety, the right to confidentiality and the right to privacy.
A fair efficient system for providing justice is crucial to the proper functioning of society. Not only does it hold individuals, including state officials, accountable for their actions but it also sets norms of behavior for other citizens. This system must be available the most advantaged.
Ideally, the justice process underscores the dignity of the person, as well as being a step for individuals to move on with their lives. Unfortunately, in reality the system is sometimes used to entrench power imbalances and reinforce stigma and gender discrimination. It is the task of all of us to challenge this.”
5.3 Rule of Law & Access to Justice:
In the absence of access to justice, people are unable to have their voice heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision-makers accountable. Rule of law is the foundation for both justice and security.
Together, rule of law, access to justice and legal empowerment contribute to an enabling environment for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They can spur economic growth and help to create a self and secure environment for recovery in the aftermath of conflict or disaster.
UNDP recognized the complexities in pluralistic legal landscapes and strives to ensure that support programmes include different justice approaches and systems based on a bottom-up approach, with due consideration to the normative framework guiding the work and engagement of United Notions.
UNDP works with national partners to:
Develop national strategic plans and programmes for justice reform and service delivery; Support justice needs and capacity assessments to analyze demand and supply for services, creating a baseline for monitoring and evaluation; Empower the poor and marginalized to seek response and remedies for injustice; Improve legal protection, legal awareness, legal aid and counsel, adjudication, enforcement, and civil society and parliamentary oversight; Respond to immediate justice needs including the protection of women’s rights and access to legal services; Address grave challenges in the justice sector such as policy brutality, inhumane prison conditions, lengthy pre-trial detention, and impunity for perpetrators of sexual and gender based violence; Strengthen linkages between formal and informal structures;
According to the United Nations Secretary-General (A/59/2005), “The protection and promotion of the universal values of the rule of law, human rights and democracy are ends in themselves. They are also essential for a world of justice, opportunity and stability.”
The legal system can play an important role in supporting poverty education by helping poor people to access the appropriate mix of rights and remedies. However, laws that discriminate against, or ignore, the rights and livelihoods of the poor can pose serious obstacles to the eradication of poverty. In such context, law and justice sector reforms can provide the foundation for protection and incentives to enable poor people to realize the full value of their human and physical capital.
Measures to improve access to justice should focus on developing low-cost justice delivery models, as UNDP will be working on in Uganda with a project that will address several types of land disputes, taking into account the cost of legal services and remedies, the capacity and willingness of the poor to pay for such services, congestion in the court system, the incentives of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies and the efficacy of informal and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
5.4 Access to Justice for Women:
Women’s subordinate position in society is reflected in many national legal systems. Women and girls often face discrimination with regard to family law, property and inheritance rights and employment. Women also frequently face difficulties accessing justice institutions. Poverty is a considerable barrier for women, who are more likely than men to have limited access to resources and thus face higher levels of poverty. Women also face institutional barriers to access justice. Few women are represented in male-dominated judicial and security institutions. Male staff, including police officers, prosecutors and judges, can deter women from reporting disputes or crimes. Especially sensitive issues such as domestic violence and rape are likely to go unreported due to fear of shame and stigma.
Unequal power relations result in the denial of basic rights and poverty for millions of women globally. Lack of access to justice is among the most important determinants of poverty among women. Within conflict-affected countries, access to justice is further reduced by war-devastated governmental infrastructure and increased violence. In late 2009, ActionAid began two 2-year projects focusing on ensuring and increasing women’s access to justice. The main aims of the Access to Justice for Women are:
To build demand for justice by enhancing the capacity of affected women to advocate for access to justice characterized by accessibility, adaptability, availability and acceptability; To increase the supply of justice for women by bringing about pro-women government policies, judicial system reform and changes in cultural practices at national, local and community levels;
Action Aid has achieved significant positive outcomes for women:
Increase in the understanding of women in the target communities on inheritance and rape laws, referral mechanisms for accessing justice and UN resolutions 1325 and 1820; Increase in the number of women who demonstrated a willingness to access justice through the formal justice system (particularly for cases of rape, inheritance and persistence of non-payment of child support) by 45% ; Establishment of two mediation groups, which have trained a total of 23 women in conflict mediation skills. The women trained to run these mediation sessions are now able to also provide informal level legal aid through the settling of domestic violence and domestic dispute cases in the community.
We are happy now that are women are more secure in the community. They’ve not just been included in the traditional council but have decision-making positions. Now they have the space to exercise their rights. We [traditional leaders] will use our power and influence to protects women’s rights and not to abuse them.
5.5 Access to Justice: A Conceptual and Practical Analysis with Implications for Justice Reforms:
“The present article discusses the principle of access to justice, and its practical implications for judicial reform, by focusing on the role of the court system in guaranteeing individuals’ access to justice. The article goes on to evaluate the capabilities of the court system as a whole, as well as the judiciary, and identifies the principle of independence as the main requirement. Furthermore, the article analyzes the concept of judicial independence as defined under various international agreements, and its relevance to access to justice issues. The fundamental and practical problems of court procedures are also examined, as courts must have the substantive and procedural capacity to handle disputes, since the lack of such capacities can become obstacles to access to justice. The popularity of alternatives to court proceedings in response to court problems is also considered. Lastly, the economic and procedural obstacles to individuals’ access to justice are questioned, and specifically, issues related to legal aid, the ombudsman institution, and alternatives to ordinary court proceedings.”
5.6 Access to Justice through Legal Aid:
Legal Aid is fundamental to social and legal justice. Bangladesh is a developing democratic country in the world. In a democratic society all citizens have a right to access to justice and get fair trial. The Constitution of the people republic of Bangladesh 1972 has theoretically ensured access to justice, fair trial, rule of law, fundamental rights, human rights, equality before law, and equal protection of law, but due to financial crisis and ignorance of law, these constitutional protection have become a fake promise to the vast majority of the people.
The third paragraph of the constitution states that it shall be a fundamental aim of the state to realize through the democratic process a socialist, free from exploitation, society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, economical and social, will be secured for all citizens.
The Article 27 of the constitution says that all citizens are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of law. Article 14 stipulates that it shall be fundamental responsibility of the state to emancipate backward sections of the people from all forms of exploitation. Article 31(2) guarantees protection of law that the citizens and the residents of Bangladesh have the inalienable right to treated in accordance with law. Article 35(3) ensures speedy and fair trial. Various international documents have also been framed for the protection of these rights. Articles 7, 8 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, Articles 6(1) and 20(1) of the Commonwealth of Independent States Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1995.Article 9 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights 1994, Article 3 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights1981, Article 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights 1978. For the following reasons, all these guarantees become meaningless without providing any legal aid to the indigent persons.
Firstly: In a suit where one party is poor and the other party is opulent, here equality, rule of law, and fair trial, ensured in our constitution and other constitutions and documents of the world cannot be maintained because the opulent party able to appoint an expert advocate who can easily take the fruits of the suit in favour of his clients which the opposite advocate fail to do.
Secondly: access to justice is prevented for the poor by high legal costs, here costs include court fee, process fee, advocate fee, and other incidental costs.
Thirdly: delay in disposal of a civil suit, in our country for the disposal of a civil suit several years required, but poor litigant after fighting one or two years, loss their everything and fail to move the suit, so the court pronounce decree in favor of the strong party.
Fourthly: a big number of people of the country are ignorant as to their rights. So without giving any legal assistance they cannot ensure their rights.
It is evident that it is necessary to provide some level of legal aid to persons otherwise unable to afford legal representation. If it is not provided then it must violate the principle of equality before law and the process under the rule of law. So, for ensuring of the equality before law, due process of law and fair trial adequate legal aid is fundamental for the indigent litigants which may be given in the following ways: 
Staff attorney model: In this model lawyers are employed on salary solely to provide legal assistance to qualifying low income clients; In a Judi care model: private lawyers and law firms are paid to handle cases without taking fees from the poor clients; The community legal clinic: comprises non-profit clinics serving a particular community through a broad range of legal services; Providing information sheets to the general public on the legal assistance system; Legal aid board: consisting of several lawyers appointed by government with fixed salary for advocating on behalf of poor clients; NGOs based legal aid system: NGOs may provide legal aid by creating awareness among the people and fighting in the court on behalf of the poor clients. There are some NGOs i.e. BLUST, AIN O SALISH KENDRA, BNWLA, are playing leading role in providing legal aid.
To ensure legal aid to the poor litigants the different countries of the world have taken deferent steps and models. In Bangladesh, order 33 of the code of civil procedure 1908, says that pauper may institute any suit as a pauper. Rule 1 defines that a person is a pauper when he is not able to pay the prescribed fee or where no such fee is prescribed, when he is not entitled to property worth five thousand taka other than his necessary wearing apparel and the subject matter of the suit. This provision has no application for its archaism so an effort for providing legal aid to the indigent litigants was first taken up by the government, the notification a legal aid committee was formed in every district. Subsequently the government formed a national legal aid committee and also reconstituted district legal aid committees. In the year 2000 legal aid act has been enacted to put the legal aid activities on a firm footing. On a careful analysis of the said act, some loopholes become evident to us which are as follows:
No separate body for taking application; The members of the committees are from upper strata so they often fail to realize the miseries of the penurious litigants; No remuneration for the members of the committees so they are reluctant to do these activities; The procedure of considering the applications has become another machine of lingering the suits; There is no accountability of the members of the boards and committees; The Act does not clarify that for which cases legal aid will be given. For these defects a poor litigant cannot take the benefit of this act.
In conclusion I want to say that to ensure fundamental rights and rule of law for the poor litigants with the affluent litigants, government should immediately take effective steps and amend the Aingoto Sohayota prodan Ain2000.
5.7 Bangladesh: Access to Justice by the Poor:
The government has been running a legal aid service for the poor since 2002. Some NGOs and human rights organizations are also playing a role in this field. The government-run legal aid service and the non-governmental ones are represented in their association, the National Legal Aids Services Organization (NLASO). NLASO informed a meeting that 12,000 poor litigants had been provided with legal service in the last five years.
The concept of natural justice as well as rule of law becomes mockery when a large number of people are simply excluded from using the legal services on account of poverty. It can be considered as constituting a breach of their fundamental and constitutional rights. Many cases have been reported in Bangladesh of prisoners not being produced before the courts and these person have had no opportunity to point out the gross illegality of their detention as they had no access to legal assistance in any form as a consequence of their poverty as well as their lack of understanding of the legal system. Only from this instance, it should be obvious why the legal aid services for the poor need to expand a great deal.
5.8 Promoting Access to Justice and Human Rights in Bangladesh:
Promoting Access to Justice and Human Rights in Bangladesh (A2J) Project is being implemented by the Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Minstry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA) with financial support from UNDP. This project has successfully been implemented from July 2007 to June 2010 and extended for another two years until June 2012. In the first three years the project had two major outcomes: Access to Justice and Human Rights.
In the last project phase, the project thrust was on the establishment of institutional framework for protection of human rights and dissemination of human rights status particularly of the disadvantaged. The project was able to adequately fulfill this commitment as it provided support in the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission. Presently the commission is receiving support from another UNDP Project. Therefore, the current and new phase of the project is to improve access to justice and the promotion and protection of human rights of all particularly for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, such as women, disabled, ethnic minorities and children through the following components such as Building strategic management capacity for the Ministry to improve service delivery, Improved access to legal aid and legal reform.
5.9 Access to Justice in Bangladesh:
The administration of judicial or justice delivery system in Bangladesh is time consuming and un-affordable to the poor people. A case usually takes about ten to twenty years on average from date of filing to date of judgment. The district court judges are the administrator of the district court, responsible for managing, scheduling and delivering decisions. Justice delayed is justice denied is on of the principles equity. Public confidence in the legal system is lost. The Law Minister Barrister Shofic Ahmed in a recent workshop said that the present judicial system is old, traditional and corrupt and needs reform. He informed that a total of ten million (96, 83, 305) cases are now pending in different courts of the country and under existing procedure hundred years will be required for disposal. The breakup of this backlog is: 4,946 cases in the appellate Division of the Supreme Court; 1, 27, 244 cases in the High Court Division, 3, 44,518 civil cases; 95,689 criminal cases in the Judges Courts; 2, 96,862 cases with Magistrate Courts and 99,004 cases with Metropolitan Magistrate Courts. Independence of judiciary, amendment of existing laws, alternative dispute resolution, case management by judges, court administration by court administrators – are a few recommendations that the reformers had in mind.
5.10 Limitations of Access to Justice:
However, despite the above, the legal service is still not very effective. There are lack commitment and poor communication from the lawyers. Community centers and law centers are more effective in providing help and assistance. There are lack of advisers in areas like social security, housing, disability discrimination, employment and immigration. There is a distinct problem of “Access to Justice” in certain where there are no solicitors who do publicly-funded work. Even, those solicitors who do publicly-funded work out back on the number of cases they take on due to low rates of pay. Beside, the statutory charge may mean that a claimant may have nothing left even though he/she has won the case.
In conclusion of this chapter we can say that, in our country most of the people are poor that is why they can’t go to the Court for Justice. There are also some reasons that the court proceedings are so difficult. If the government provide Legal Aid and make easy the court proceedings then the poor person can get justice.
Chapter – Six
National and International Instrument (Laws) on Legal Aid
Generally Legal Aid is essential for poor people because they have no money. If the poor people get legal aid properly that time established fair justice. We cannot provide Legal Aid as our wish because there are some laws in Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh makes some laws relating to Legal Aid. The Legal Aid may be provided to poor people by the Government and also Non Governmental Organizations for end of justice.
In our practical life we see that, the rights of the poor people are violated they cannot go to the Court for Justice that time occurred violation of Human Rights. That is why the Government of Bangladesh makes some laws for the establishment of justice and for the protection of poor person rights as like as Human rights.
6.1 Provision of Legal Aid in International Instruments:
On April 27, 2012 the 21st session of the Commission for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) adopted the resolution for the UN Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice System. This is groundbreaking because it is the first international instrument on legal aid. Principle one of this instrument starts by emphasizing that legal aid is an essential element for a fair, humane, and efficient criminal justice system and is a foundation for the enjoyment of other rights. 
It has been a matter of fact that provision of legal aid in criminal matters is recognized all over the world. Legal Aid as a human right is a implicit in Article 7, 8 and 10 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and more particularly it follows clearly and inevitably from clause 3 (d) of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966.
The Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 provides that all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
The European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1950, in Article 6 (3) (c) deals with Legal Aid in Criminal cases whereby the right to free legal aid to a person charged in a criminal case was guaranteed.
Some other International instruments contain provisions of legal aid in criminal matters. For example, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 provides for legal aid in criminal matters under Article 14 (3) (d).
The Article 6 (1) and Article 20 (1) of the Commonwealth of Independent States Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1995 contain similar provisions as article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Article 9 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights, 1994 also states that all persons are equal before the law and everyone within the territory of the State has a guaranteed right to legal remedy.
The Article 3 of the African [Banjul] Carter on Human and People’s Rights, 1981 contain similar provision and provides that every individual shall be equal before the law and every individual shall be entitled to equal protection of the law.
The Article 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights, 1978 provides that all persons are equal before the law and consequently, they are entitled, without discrimination, to equal protection of the law.
6.2 Legal Aid Provisions in the Constitution of India:
The preamble of the Indian constitution aims to secure to the people of India justice - socio economic and political. Article 38 and 39A of the Indian constitution are notable. Article 38 (1) states, the state shall promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting the social order including justice and Article 39-A of the constitution states that the state shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen.
Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability. Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all. Legal aid strives to ensure that constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and spirit and equal justice is made available to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society.
6.3 History of Legal Aid Laws in Bangladesh:
In 1967, the Government of Pakistan set up a Committee consisting of ten members and headed by eminent Justice Harmoodar Harman to recommend ways and means by which competent legal aid may be brought within the means of poor litigants. The Committee submitted a fairly comprehensive report on February 15, 1970. Due to the Liberation War in 1971, the recommendations were stalled.
In 1976, the Government of Bangladesh set up a Law Reform Commission headed by Mr. Justice Kemaluddin Hossain to recommend ways and means by which competent legal aid may be brought within the means of poor litigants. The Government accepted quite a good number of suggestions and enacted the Law Reforms Ordinance, 1978. But this law did not include the legal aid provisions.
The Govt. took formal and specific initiative for enacting legal aid laws only in 1994. By a resolution in 1994, the Govt. established a National Legal Aid Committee, chaired by the Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and District Committees Chaired by the District Judges to provide legal aid to poor litigants and an amount of money was allocated to cover the cost of such representation under the authority of the District Judge. Funding is made available from govt. resources, donation from national and international organizations and other sources. Nevertheless, govt.’s initiatives had achieved only minimum success. However, by another resolution of 1996, the resolution of 1994 was repealed. It is found that only handful of litigants actually received legal aid from these government initiatives. Finally, in the year 2000, in January, the Government passed the Aingoto Sohayota Prodan Ain, 2000.
It is pertinent to mention here that in India, the Legal Aid issue is regulated by the Legal Services Authorities Amendment Act, 1994 which amended the previous Legal Services Authorities Act,1987. There are many provisions common in Bangladeshi Aingoto Sohayota Prodan Ain and its Indian counterpart the Legal Services Authorities Amendment Act, 1994.
6.4 The Provision of Access to Justice in the Constitution of the Bangladesh:
In consonance with the international commitment to the principles of equality of justice, it has been pledged in the Preamble of Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. It shall be a fundamental aim of the state to realize through the democratic process a socialist society, free from exploitation- a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens.
Beside, the Constitution provides for a fundamental right that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.
It does not require any reference to cite how illusory and meaningless those commitments and constitutional protection of fundamental rights are when we see that most of the indigent litigants in the country cannot afford the cost defending their basic civil rights by appointing a lawyer or travelling to the District court, not to mention about the plight of the people to come to the High Court Division to enforce their fundamental rights. Protection of equality before law and equal access to law in the Constitution becomes meaningless when an indigent people finds himself in the police custody or jail custody and cannot defend himself by affording a lawyer. No amount of constitutional protection of high ideal of rule of law, independence of judiciary for the administration of justice can help poor citizen of a country like ours to protect his life and liberties unless there is someone to stand by his side.
In the preamble of the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh that one of the fundamental aims of the state is to realize a society in which equality of justice would be secured foe all citizens. The Constitution of the Peoples’ of Bangladesh is the supreme law of the land. In Article 19 of the constitution of the Peoples’ Bangladesh prescribes that, the state shall endeavor to ensure equality of opportunity to all citizens. Again the Article 31 prescribes that, every person may take shelter of the law which is treated as a Human Rights. The all persons are equal before law. The access to justice is the inalienable right of every citizen. If those people are poor that time they can’t take the shelter of court for justice and in that sense they can’t get any kind of justice.
In our Constitution clearly said that all are equal before law. That means rich and poor person will get access to justice. That is why the poor has no money so the Government will provide Legal Aid without any cost. Then we can say Human Rights are established in Bangladesh.
6.5 Legal Aid Provisions in Existing Bangladeshi Law:
The Constitution of Bangladesh has in clear terms recognized the basic fundamental human rights. One of the basic fundamental rights is that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. Majority people are improvised. They cannot access themselves to justice to protect and vindicate their legal rights & lawful causes. To address this problem legal aid services have been activated under the Legal Aid Act, 2000. The law provides for giving legal aid to poor people to institute or defend cases in courts.
It is stated earlier that the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, 1972 recognized the concepts ‘equality before law’, ‘equal protection of law’, ‘rule of law’ etc. In these concepts, the issue ‘legal aid’ is underpinned. We get the flavor of legal aid in specific provisions in very limited scale in Bangladeshi Laws both in civil and criminal matters.
6.5.1 Legal Aid in Civil Matters:
As regards civil matters, Order XXXIII of CPC deals with the ‘pauper’ suit. The main object of the order 33 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is that, the law made for establishing ends of justice for poor people. The object of these rules is to enable a person who is too poor to pay for the court fee to institute suit without payment of court fee.
When a person want to file a suit and if he is a poor person that time he may take the help of legal aid of under order 33 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. At first a person have wealth of 100/= taka without wearing cloths and ornaments that person may get legal aid for a civil suit. The Government change the rule in 2006 and the new provision include that the person wealth should not exceed 5000/= taka without wearing clothes and ornaments. Then he may get legal aid under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
In Sm Renu Prova Dey vs. Sree Anil Kumar Dey and Others cases prescribes that, in considering whether a Hindu Married women whose husband is alive, has the means to pay the court fee, ornamenst which are ordinarily worn by her and which are considered as part of her wearing-apparel should be exempted from such consideration.
As regards civil matters, Order 33 of CPC deals with the ‘pauper’ suit. But Explanation to rule 1 of Order 33 of CPC provides that a person is a ‘pauper’ when he is not possessed of sufficient means to enable him to pay the fee prescribes by law foe the plaint in such suit, or where no such fee is prescribed, when he is not entitled to property worth five thousand taka other than his necessary wearing-apparel and the subject-matter if the suit.
In under schedule 1 to the Rangamati Parbatto Zilla Sanio Sarkar Parishad Ain, 1989 , the Khagrachari Parbatto Zilla Stanio Sarkar Parishad Aid, 1989 , it is the responsibility of Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban Districts Local Government Parishad to provide legal aid to indigenous people.
The Zilla Parishad Act, 2000, section 27 and Part II of the First Schedule provide that it shall be the optional duty of the Parishad to provide legal aid to the poor and destitute.
6.5.2 Legal Aid in Criminal Matters:
The need for legal aid is felt more in criminal matters as the life, property and personal liberty of a person are inseparably connected there. As regards criminal matters, section 26 & 51 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 prescribes that, when the accused is not acquitted that time the court will give chance to the accused for defense.
In Husain Muhammad Ershad vs. State cases prascribes that, any person accused of an offence before a Criminal Court, or against whom proceedings are institute under this Code in any such Court, may of right be defended by a pleader.
The need for legal aid is felt more in criminal matters as the life, property and personal liberty of a person are inseparably connected there. As regards criminal matters, section 340 Cr. P. C. states that an accused should be defended by a lawyer and he must pay the fees and nothing more. The section 340 also said that the accused can not only defense but he also is a witness for his case.
The right conferred by section 340 (1) does not extend to a right in an accused person to be provided with a lawyer by the State, or by the police or by the Magistrate. That is a privilege given to him and it is his duty to ask for a lawyer if he wants to engage one and to engage one himself or get his relations to engage one for him. The only duty cast on the Magistrate is to afford him the necessary opportunity.
In Babu Khan vs. State cases prescribes that, the right of an accused to be defended by a lawyer in a case charged under section 302 of the Penal Code being punishable with death in an inalienable right guaranteed in the law of our land and if any trial takes place refusing such fundamental right the trial is a misnomer and the judgment passed convicting an accused is no judgment in the eye of law.
The Section 8 (a) of the Acid Niontron Ain, 2002, provides that it shall be the duty of the District Committee to provide the victims of Acid legal aid, treatment and rehabilitation.
6.5.3 The Legal Aid Act, 2000:
The Act made for the purpose of providing legal aid to the financially poor, destitute and helpless persons begging for the legal assistance. The Act is an honest attempt of the Government to lend its assistance to the poor. This Act along with guidelines and rules framed under it presents a comprehensive, nation-wide and state-funded legal aid scheme.
It is mentioned in the preamble of the Legal Aid Act 2000 that the aim of enacting the Act is to provide legal aid to the people who are unable to get the justice due to financial crisis or due to different socio-economic reasons.
The poor person may apply for Legal Aid to Board or District Committee under section 16 of the Legal Aid Act 2000. The cost of Legal Aid are provided by the Government to the organization in a year which is also notified by the Gazette. It is deals with the section 17 of the Legal Aid Act 2000. The poor person will get all the things deed or photocopy without cost which also described in section 19 of the Legal Aid Act 2000.
In conclusion of this chapter we can say that, there are many laws in our country relating Legal Aid. Most of laws clearly said that the government will provide legal aid to the poor people.
Chapter – Seven
The Role of National Organization and Non Governmental Organization (Legal Aid Worker) provided Legal Aid in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh most of the people are poor they cannot go to the Court for Justice and in that situation we cannot say it is the justice. In our country there are many NGO but some NGOs provide Legal Aid for ends of justice. That is why some NGO provide Legal Aid to the poor people. The entire Legal Aid worker can-not know all laws regarding Legal Aid for that reason the organization should arrange training for perfect service. Then the NGO can play vital role for Develop our justice by providing Legal Aid.
7.1 Who is a Legal Aid Worker?
A person having sufficient knowledge on existing laws, who is motivated and work absolutely on humanitarian ground with patience in order to:
Makes the neglected, exploited and oppressed people conscious about basic human rights; Assist in creating organization to increase awareness; Takes initiative to solve the various disputes by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); Assist the lawyer or any legal aid organization before commencement of any case before the court by providing primary information about the incident; Takes initiative to provide the legal aid and introduce the poor and vulnerable people with any legal aid organization to get legal aid support.
7.2 The Code of Conduct of Legal Aid Worker:
We know that every Legal Aid worker should follow some code of conduct. If they do not follow that conduct that time they cannot provide proper legal aid. The some codes of conduct are as follows:
Listening people with patience and earning their confidence; Realizing people’s problem through inquiry and assisting them to find out the solution; Taking appropriate action in solving people’s problem with confidence; Solving problems democratically, explaining people the reasons of problem and reaching to a solution as per their advice; Making public relation very strong by interaction with journalists, researchers, police and administrative officials by exchanging information; Appreciating the risky jobs and taking appropriate measures for security of the associates; Realizing the subject matter properly and motivate people in right direction for finding solution; Capable to take right decision at right time, informing people both positive and negative aspects on any task; Be aware about own limitation and taking outside support if required; Qualifying to give appropriate advice and not increasing people’s expectation by giving hope which is not possible to perform; Giving maximum importance on people’s interest; No exploitation of people for own interest; Accepting people’s choices and avoiding lawyer’ procedural system; Maintaining basic principles of human rights and not accepting any human rights violation; Facing boldly any discriminatory law in light of IHRL; Respecting people’s knowledge and positive attitudes; Neutral person; Able to inform the affected person or others about the legal consequence of the problem; Acts as bridge between the parties; Helps the parties in the procedure of justice, not in the subject of quarrel; Above code of conduct is equally applicable for all legal aid organizations and lawyers assisting them.
7.3 Duties of Legal Aid Worker:
We should arrange training for Legal Aid Worker to do below mentioned work. Such as follows:
Assist in creating organization: The Legal Aid Worker will associate the people or get together for creating a organization. They will also provide concept about an organization and help to make structure for organization. They will arrange a seminar or meeting for unity and they also arrange social and cultural program; Be educated, intelligent and conscientious: the legal Aid Worker will inform the people about their rights; Capable to provide advice, mediation and conciliation: The Legal Aid worker will arrange mediation and conciliation when any dispute origin between the group of people; Drafts documents, application and assist the lawyer: When there necessary to send a case to the lawyer that time the Legal Aid worker will help the lawyer to make a plaint and the Legal Aid worker will also provide research and provide primary investigation report; Social thinker: The Legal Aid worker will aware the people about the problem and they will help them for making permanent and useful solution; Able to motivate the people in any matter; Knowledge about Legal Aid and existence laws.
7.4 Rules Relating to the Qualifications of a Legal Aid Worker:
It is not appropriate at all to appoint a legal aid worker by the determination of educational qualification. There are many who are working as a legal aid worker but they have not so much educational qualification. Those people have practical experience and they are capable to work.
The Legal Aid worker should develop a relationship between different states of society and the information should be exchanged between Police, Journalist, Researcher and Administrative officer; They should capable to make right decision about in any situation. They should aware the general people about positive and negative of a matter; The Legal Aid worker should aware their limitation and they should not work beyond their limitation. The problem should be solved by outside help; The Legal Aid worker should maintain Human Rights Principles. They should not violate the Human Rights principles and if any group violates those principles that time they should create the international and national support against it.
7.5 Rule of Legal Aid Worker:
When the Legal Aid Worker got training then the duties of them is to provide legal to the different minorities and to encourage the other to join as legal aid worker for part time beside his function. In some cases, when a Legal Aid Worker got training that time he cannot join any organization but he work as his wishes and he provide legal aid to any group if necessary by that’s way solve the problem. The trained legal aid worker works in certain situation and certain area.
We should provide training the legal aid worker that they will provide proper legal aid. If any legal aid worker joins in any organization that time he may play vital role for legal aid.
In practical we see that, the government can’t provide legal aid to all the poor people that is why may Non Governmental organization created. In this situation many organization provide legal aid and already they play a vital role for establishing human rights. Many times the poor people can’t go to court for justice because of money and now the NGO provide all the cost of the suit. This system play a vital role for ends of justice and secure the poor people rights.
7.6 Legal Aid provided by the NGOs:
The history of provision of legal aid by the Bangladesh Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is as old as that of that of their birth. Most of the Human Rights NGOs provide legal aid to the aggrieved. Among these NGOs Ain O Salish Kendra (AKS), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Service Trust (BLAST), Mdaripur Legal Aid Association (LAA) Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) are playing leading role in providing legal aid.
The International Commission of Jurists in its resolution on “Legal Aid and Rule of Law” observed,“Equal access to law for the reach and poor alike is essential to the maintenance of the rule of law.” It is, therefore, essential to provide adequate legal advice and representation to all those threatened as to their life, liberty or reputation who are not able to pay for it.
The Constitution of Bangladesh, 1972 provides different rights of the people and empowers the HCD for the enforcement of fundamental rights. However, because of the costs involved in the process of litigation, the poor and vulnerable sections of society seldom get the benefit of the constitutional guarantee of the protection rights. Thus, if we mean actual and real protection, we need to consider the provision of legal aid, as well as measures ensuring that court services are accessible to the people.
In conclusion it can be rightly said that despite the resource constraints faced by our country the government is committed and made a determined effort to bring legal aid to the doorsteps of the poor and aggrieved by enunciating of this Act.
7.7 Legal Aid and NGOs:
The Legal Aid support of the NGOs is worth mentioning. The Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST) has national networks of lawyers and currently provides legal aid and mediation services in eighteen districts and five legal aid clinic.
Therefore, in this respect, the NGOs legal aid support is worth mentioning. Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA) encompasses the districts of Madaripur, Faridpur, and Shariatpur. Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) is 34 years old membership based, non-profit movement oriented voluntary organization, with approximately 134,000 general members working for women’s rights.
A number of other NGOs, like ASK, BNWLA BSEHR also provide legal services. While the general focus is on providing legal support in civil cases, relating mainly to matrimonial and land disputes, criminal work is also undertaken. Nature of dispute centered generally around matrimonial issues like, divorce, non-maintenance, non-payment of dower, child marriage, dowry and polygamy. There were also cases over inheritance, land and property matters.
7.8 Linkage between Government and NGO Legal Aid:
The linkage between Government and NGO legal aid is a relative issue. With the enactment of the Legal Aid Act, 2000 and forming committees dispose off cases, the government’s initiative cannot be ignored. Although, the present structural defects is an impediment in ensuring the effective service. In this regard, whether any mechanisms can be developed to bring NGO’s and Government to work together is vital to consider. By this mechanism NGO’s may either send their clients to Government’s legal aid committee and vice versa or utilize Government’s fund to assist their clients.
The alteration to be brought in the Government legal aid to ensure its functioning is not easy but time consuming as many questions like legal and procedural factors has to be considered. However, NGO’s may give assistance in this regard with their legal expertise. Moreover, NGO’s may develop a good relation with government in respect of legal aid and work side by side in the long run for their own greater interest.
The field response of possible linkage between the two is important to consider. Whether any linkage can be done between the Government and BLAST legal aid the President of Mymensingh Bar, replied in the negative. He said that the governments bureaucratic norms makes it impossible to combine the two system together. Moreover, the governmental officials are not trained in human rights approach but perform their duties as per bureaucratic rules. Whereas, the BLAST official get training and are equipped to deal with the issue in more humanitarian way. The district judge neither denied no encouraged the possible linkage but was optimistic in providing fund to BLAST for better working. The District Judge of Dhaka, also reiterated the fact that any linkage between the government legal aid and BLAST is neither practical no feasible.
7.9 The Performance of the National Legal Aid Organization at a Glance:
According to statistics published in December 2003 by the National Legal Aid Organization legal aid has been given in total of 8208 cases which include 1296 civil cases, 5915 criminal cases, 886 family matters and 111 miscellaneous cases. In 61 districts under the coverage of legal aid programme 1807 penal lawyers in total have been appointed; total fund granted for legal aid is Tk. 1,87,23012 out of which Tk. 40,88,723 has been expended and the balance is Tk. 1,79,15,076. The reason of such a big balance against the background of unmanageable number of indigent litigants is lack of proper publicity, awareness among indigent litigants and some other optional lacunae in the handling of legal aid programme which have been discussed below.
7.10 The States obligations under international law to provide Legal Aid to the poor and indigent litigants:
There exists a range of international norms and standards that are relevant to the question of a state’s responsibility to provide legal aid, which began to be articulated by the international community after 1945 with the establishment of United Nations International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that set out specific obligations of states to provide state-funded counsel for indigent persons. Article 14 (3) (d) of the ICCPR requires that an accused offender is entitled ‘to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any case if he does not have sufficient means to pay for it’. The European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the European Convention0, also include similar provision. The United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All persons under Any form of Detention or Imprisonment provides that a detained person shall be entitled to have legal counsel assigned to him or her by a judicial or other authority in all cases where the interests of justice so required and without payment by him or her if he/she does not have sufficient funds to pay. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners provide for untried prisoners to be allowed to apply for legal aid where such aid is available. As a criminal prosecution may result in deprivation of personal liberty, the Indian Supreme Court held that an accused, who due to poverty, indigence or an incommunicado situation, cannot afford legal service is entitled to free legal aid at the cost of the State as part of fair and reasonable procedure under article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
7.11 The Role of the NGOs providing Legal Aid in Bangladesh:
In Bangladesh, there are many NGOs but some NGOs provide Legal Aid for establishing Human Rights and Justice. I will try to prescribe the role, function and goal of NGOs in Bangladesh. Such as follows:
7.11.1 Manusher Jonno Foundation:
Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) is an initiative design to promote ‘human rights’ and ‘good governance’ in Bangladesh. It is combined to:
Promoting voices of people whose rights are being denied and violated; Creating social environment in building people’s dignity; Channeling isolated, unlinked efforts about human rights and governance into linked and aligned actions; Challenging the vested interests and established hierarchies in the that perpetuate poverty.
Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) provides funding and capacity building support to organizations working on human rights and governance. MJF works in partnership with different stakeholders such as civil society organizations, NGOs, CBOs, government, private sector, research organizations etc. MJF through its partners assist to ensure entitlements of people by building their capacity to demand basic services and raise voice against rights violation. MJF also works on the supply side with duty bearers so that they are responsive to the demands of people.
The dignity and well being of all people (especially poor, marginalized and socially excluded) are ensured by responsible, accountable and transparent duty bearers, the actions of committed and capable defenders and rights holders who are aware and mobilized to claim their rights and entitlements.
In order to contribute towards the above vision MJF will- support both financially and technically, a critical mass of public and private organization working in the area of increasing awareness to demand fulfillment of human rights and improved governance leading to poverty reduction. Facilitate coherence in human rights and governance wok in Bangladesh, through networking and policy advocacy. Monitor the human rights and governance situation in the country and make this information available publicly.
The main goal of Manusher Jonno Foundation is to improve well-being of poor women, men and children in Bangladesh.
7.11.2 The Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST):
The Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (“BLAST”) is mandated to provide free legal aid to ensure that all people have an opportunity to access justice, regardless of economic means or other disadvantage. BLAST institutes litigation and alternative dispute resolution on behalf of individuals, engages in public interests litigation and lobbies for the enactment of laws and policies for the protection of the rights of those living in poverty and /or facing disadvantage or social exclusion.
The BLAST was established with his some objectives such as follows:
(1) The objects of the Trust are to secure that the operation of the legal system will promote access to justice and, in particular, to provide free legal aid by suitable schemes or in any other way to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen or person by reason of economic or other disabilities.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing and in pursuance thereof, the Trust has the following specific objectives:
To administer a Trust fund to establish and maintain legal aid service units, to be supported by grants from the Trust; To establish legal aid or assistance and human rights protection units in the Bar Associations and in different localities of the country, including rural areas; To establish special training programmes through which training can be imparted to those lawyers who will form part of such units; To arrange programmes under which lawyers who work in the units will have opportunities to be involved in similar programmes in other countries so that they can acquire practical training and carry back their experience to help them in their work in such units; To coordinate the work of such units with other bodies, including NGOs, working in related fields; To publish books on various legal subjects; To procure legal services for the programme of the Trust in consideration of contribution by the Trust to the Benevolent Fund of the Bangladesh Bar Council; To promote and include legal education.
In present time the BLAST working for completing their goal and protect human rights and promote access to justice.
From the beginning of its activities in 1994 till the end of 1995, BLAST has filled a total of 1, 186 cases in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and various District and Subordinate Courts of the country, of which 294 cases have already been decided and the rest are pending at various stages of the judicial process. Of these 1,186 cases, 638 were filled by different Units during 1995 while the Head Office filed another 83 cases in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Besides, the Head Office also filed 6 cases in districts in which BLAST does not yet have an Unit Office.
During the reporting year BLAST began to provide legal aid and assistance to beneficiaries and customers of other NGOs. BLAST had already filed cases on behalf of referred to it by Bangladesh Human Rights Enforcement Committee (BHREC), Bangladesh Human Rights Commission, Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Coordinating Council of Human Rights of Bangladesh (CCHRB), Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA) and others.
Lastly, some of the District Units of BLAST, particularly Barisal, Khulna and Rajshahi, are now undertaking mediations. The Coordinators and some of the staffs of 6 units have recently undergone ‘mediation training’ at the Training and Resource Centre of MLAA and they are deploying mediation skills acquired through the training for arranging mediations and resolving disputes.
The Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services trust filed many cases for establishing end of justice. In our practical life we see that many people are arrested by Police without any reason under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. That is why BLAST files a writ petition before Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and-other vs. Bangladesh and others cases the Court held that, it has been alleged in writ petition that the police, by abusing the power given under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, has been curtailing the liberty of the citizens and that by misuse and abuse of the power of taking an accused into police custody as given in section 167, has been violating the fundamental rights guaranteed under different Articles of the Constitution.
This rule was issued calling upon the respondents to show cause as to why they shall not be directed to refrain from an abusive exercise of powers under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or to seek unreasonable remand under section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and to strictly exercise powers of arrest and investigation within the limits established by the law and in view of the safeguards contained in Articles 27, 31, 32, 33 and 35 of the constitution.
7.11.3 Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK):
Ain o Salsh Kendra (ASK) is a national legal aid and human rights organization, established in 1986. Initially focused on providing free legal services to the disenfranchised in Dhaka city, its aims and activities have developed over twenty years to encompass investigation, advocacy, media campaigning, documentation, training and action research in addition to its core activities of legal services (including legal aid, mediation and public interest litigation).
The main goal of ASK to establish the rule of law based on the principles of equality, democracy, human rights, justice and gender equity.
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), is a legal aid and human rights resource centre. It provides free legal aid to the poor-women, workers and child workers. It has a special consultative status with UNECOSOC. ASK’s legal activism has led to public campaigns and advocacy in defense of individual and group rights within a framework of democracy. Besides providing free legal aid, ASK seeks to create awareness of legal and human rights so as to empower citizens to negotiate their rights. It is committed to campaigning for reform of discriminatory and repressive laws to eliminate systematic social, legal and political discrimination.
In conclusion of this chapter we can say that, the Government of Bangladesh trying to provide Legal Aid to the poor people for that reason made National Legal Aid organization. Some NGOs in Bangladesh play vital roles for establishing poor people’s right. That is why they fight for the poor people and they provide legal assistance to the poor people. The Legal Aid NGOs provides all cost of a suit for poor person from first to last stage.
Chapter – Eight
Administration of Legal Aid in Bangladesh
A person cannot get legal aid without an application. That person should come following a procedure. The applicant should file an application to the Board or District Committee. If he follows the proper procedure then he may get Legal Aid for a case or suit. The applicant should complete some condition the main condition is that the applicant should be a poor person.
8.1 From where the poor people can get Legal Aid:
There are a prescribed form and need to collect it by which a person may apply for Legal Aid, such as follows:
A poor person may collect the form from the Legal Aid Committee office which situated in District Judge Court; From all Civil and Criminal Courts; From DC Office, Police Super Office and all UNO Office; From District bar Association Office. From G.P. and P.P. Office; From Jail Super Office and all Police Stations; From City Corporation and all Municipals and Union Parishad Karjalay Office etc.
8.2 For What reasons a person is not capable for getting Legal Aid:
A person will not capable for getting Legal Aid for some reasons. Such as follows:
If a party do not disclose of his all assets, failure will lead to dismissal of the application. He is not a pauper person; The Court determines that he is not a pauper person; The applicant person transferred his property fraudulently for taking permission for pauper suit before two month filing application; Where there is no cause of action about dispute.
8.3 Administration of Legal Aid in Bangladesh:
The Legal Aid Act, 2000 comprehensively provides for the declaration of activities in national and district level. At national level there is a National Legal Aid Board, at district level there are District Legal Aid Committees, in the Upazilla or Thana level there are Upazilla Legal Aid Committees and in Union level there are provision union Legal Aid Committee. The structure of Administration of Legal Aid in Bangladesh such as follows:
Administration of Legal Aid
National of Legal Aid Board
District Legal Aid Committee
Upazilla Legal Aid Committee
Union Legal Aid Committee
8.3.1 National Legal Aid Organization:
The Section 3 of the Legal Aid Act 2000 provides that, the Government shall establish an organization named National Legal Aid Organization which will organize and monitor proper functioning of this Act. The organization shall be a statutory organization and it may be filed a law suit in favor of it and vice versa. At national level, the whole legal aid scheme is controlled by the National Legal Aid Board which is a statutory body. The head office of the board is situated in Dhaka.
8.3.2 The Formation of National Directory Board:
This board will constitute under section 6 of the Legal Aid Act 2000. The board is managed and administered by a Board of Governors, which is constituted by the following persons:
The minister of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; he will be also the Chairman of the Board of Governors; Two members of parliament of whom one from the party ruling the Govt. and another from the opposite party in the parliament, both of whom will be nominated by the Speaker of the Jatya Sangshad; The Attorney General of Bangladesh; The Secretary of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; The Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs; The Secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare; The Inspector General of Police; The Inspector General of Jail; The Vice-Chairman of Bangladesh Bar Council; The President of the Supreme Court Bar Association; The Chairman of the National Women Organization; Representatives of three NGO’s dealing with the Law and Human Rights nominated by the Govt. who have contributed in different districts; Representatives of three women organization nominated by the Govt. who have contributed in different districts; Director, who will be the Secretary of this Board.
The members as mentioned in 1(m) and (n) shall be appointed for two years by the Govt. may remove them from their duties before the expiration of two years; and also the members may also resign from the duty before the expiration of the time by signing the Govt. approved form.
The Government may take any member resign from the post without showing any cause before the expiration of the term and any member aforesaid may resign from the post by sending a signed letter to the Government.
8.3.3 District Legal Aid Committee:
The District Legal Aid Committee is solely responsible to provide legal aid at grass root level subject to the availability of fund from the government. The Committee shall invite application from the seekers of legal aid, screen the applications, determine criteria for provision of legal aid and finally provide legal aid. A district committee will be available in every district. The District Legal Aid Committee is constituted by-
The District Judge, he will be the Chairman also; The District Magistrate; The Superintendent of Police of the District; The Jail Superintendent of the District; The Social Welfare Officer of the District, if any; The Women and Children Officer of the District, if any; The Chairman of the National Women Organization or his nominee; The president of District Bar Association; The Govt. Pleader of the District; The District Public Prosecutor; The Inspector of the District Civil Jail; One representative of the NGO nominated by the District Chairman; and The General Secretary of the District Bar Association, who will also be the member secretary of the organization.
The Metropolitan Magistrate and the Metropolitan Police Superintendent will also be the members of the District Legal Aid Committee where there is a metropolitan city in a District.
Before the expiration of the term the Nominating Authority may expel any member from the post without showing any cause and any similar member may resign from the post by the signed letter to the Government.
8.3.4 Duties and Responsibilities of the District Committee:
The district legal committee is responsible to perform the following duties:
To provide legal aid to the people who satisfy the criteria as set up by the Board of Governors and who are unable to get justice due to financial crisis or due to different socio-economic reasons; To set up the conditions on which a successful applicant will get the legal aid; To take initiative to make the people aware of availability of legal aid; To perform the duty invested by the Board; and Any other activities necessary for the performance of the above mentioned activities.
8.3.5 Fund of Legal Aid:
The Act provides that there will be a fund of the National Board of Legal Aid and the following types of money will be deposited in that fund:
The Govt. Donation; Donation from the local authority, company or person; Donation from the foreign organization; Any other fund obtained by the Board from any other sources.
The amount of the fund will be deposited in a Govt. bank in the name of the Board. The amount can be drawn up by the joint signature of the Chairman and the Member Secretary of the Board. In cases where necessary the District Committee will get fund from this fund. The Board will meet all types of expenses from this fund. The Board will be able to invest the fund in any of the govt. authorized projects.
There shall be a fund of the District Legal Aid Committee consisting of Govt. donation, donation from the local authority, company or person, donation from the foreign organization and any other fund obtained by the Committee from any other sources.
In the fiscal year 1996-1997, the total allocation for this Legal Aid Fund was 13.7 million taka, to be distributed through the District and Sessions Judge of each district. In 2001-2002, the total allocation for this Legal Aid fund was 2.5 million taka, in 2002-2003, 3 million taka, 5.0 million taka in 2004-2005, 10 million taka were sanctioned for legal aid.
8.3.6 Application for Legal Aid and Provisions of Appeal:
All application for getting legal aid must be submitted to the National Board of Legal Aid or in appropriate cases to the District Legal Aid Committee. If an application is rejected by the District Committee and the person feels aggrieved by that decision, then the applicant may prefer an appeal to the National Legal Aid Board within 60 days of the pronouncement of the decision of the District Committee.
In conclusion of this chapter we can say that, for the establishment of access to justice for the poor people the Government made National Legal Aid Organization. This organization establish for the purpose of providing Legal Aid to the poor people. The Government also made District Legal Aid Committee in every District but they can not arrange regular meeting and they also do not provide proper legal aid.
Chapter – Nine
Advantages and Disadvantages of Access to Justice and Legal Aid
The main advantage of the Legal Aid is that, the poor people can establish his rights by Legal Aid. Not only our country but also over the world the rich people absorbs the poor people and the poor people are the victim of absorption. If the Legal Aid is available then the poor people can claim their rights.
9.1 Legal Aid and Access to Justice: Prospects and problems:
Justice is open to all. “Behind this remark lies an age-long complaint that the cost of law prevents the poor from getting justice.”
In line with international commitment to the principle of equality of justice s enshrined in Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it has been pledged in the preamble of our Constitution that one of the fundamental aims of the state is to realize a society in which equality of justice would be secured for all citizens. Not only that, article 27 of the Constitution provides for a fundamental right that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. It does not require any reference to cite how illusory and meaningless those commitment and constitutional protection of fundamental rights are when we see that most of the indigent litigants in the country cannot afford the cost of defending their basic civil rights by appointing a lawyer or travelling to the District Court. Protection of equality before law and equal access to law in the Constitution becomes a mere paper tiger when an indigent people finds himself in the police custody or jail custody and cannot defend himself by affording a lawyer. The economic condition of the common people forming 90% of the total population baffles description. They are not only poverty-stricken but are deprived of the minimum basic needs of life. Modern life and civilization seem to have been a beckoning of the horizon to them. ‘The demon of illiteracy and wants has still kept them subjugated and ignorant of the basic human rights and amenities. Their fate revolves round the globe of darkness without any better change.’ “Our poor litigant people, most of whom pass more than half of the year through acute starving condition, cannot afford to reach the doors of any law chamber and derive any benefit of their services in many cases and as a result, they silently bear the agonies and burns of injustice done to them in various spheres of life without any legal relief. This is nothing but a negation to them of one of their fundamental rights of equality before law and the equal protection of law.”
Access to the court is depended upon three conditions: first, the payment of necessary court fees; second, other incidental costs, like collection of documents, copying fees for the Bar Association etc; and third, the assistance of a skilled lawyer with a view to properly presenting the case in the court. Thus the concept of legal aid in the form of assistance for matters inside the court encompasses all the above three conditions. Apart from court-matters legal aid, non-court matters legal aid has widely been recognized in most civilized countries. This includes legal aid for consultation, advice, pre-action negotiation etc. Unless legal aid could be claimed as of right it cannot be said that equality before law has been achieved. Legal Aid should not be considered as charity; it should be a part of social service.
In its independent history legal aid movement in Bangladesh has not gained any momentum at the governmental level until 2000 when the Government in assurance of financial cooperation by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) made an initiative to provide legal aid to indigent litigants and in view of that plan the Legal Aid Act 2000 was passed providing for legal mechanism and access to legal aid throughout the country. The purpose of this writing is to give a brief idea of the legal aid scheme under the Legal Aid Act, 2000 and its problems and prospects.
9.1.1 Proper monitoring and follow-up measures:
After allocating a case to a penal lawyer, what is he doing? Is he doing his job with proper responsibility? Lawyers once appointed become disinterested because of the absence of the proper follow-up measures. If a lawyer appointed on legal aid is found irresponsible, there should be effective system of removing him from the penal.
Monthly meeting: The monthly meeting of the District Committee should be made more rule-oriented. After completion of one meeting if any indigent client files a petition it is left to be considered in the following meeting. Provision should be made that immediately after receiving any application, it is to be placed before the Chairman (District Judge of the respective district) who will in consultation with the G.P. or P.P. appoint a penal lawyer and the appointment is to be approved by the District Committee in its next meeting.
9.1.2 Legal Aid committee in Thanas and Upazillas:
The present law compels indigent litigants to travel to the District to get Legal Aid which is very disadvantageous for them. Legal Aid Committees in thanas and Upazillas should be formed as per section 12 of the Act. This will also relive the burden of the District Judges to deal with lots of application at the same time.
There is no uniform printed form for application for legal aid. The available form is very cumbersome and difficult for the indigent litigants to fill up. At the moment no senior lawyers are interested in taking up a legal aid case because of very low fees; fees should be increased do that senior lawyer could be engaged in a complicated case. In view of their being extremely busy with their briefs some special provisions may be made with enhanced rate of fees for some senior lawyers.
9.2 Advantages of Legal Aid:
The plaintiffs or accused person rights are protected by providing of Legal Aid, it is the main advantages of Legal Aid. The rich person always violates the rights of poor person and consequently the poor person can’t execute his rights by Court. So if the Legal Aid are available that time the poor people will aware their rights; The intention of crime of a person will decrease. If the poor people established their rights by legal aid that time the rich criminal intention of crime will decreased; The legal aid plays vital role for the establishment of rule of law. The main features of democracy are Rule of Law. When a person can’t deal his case for money and he can’t established his rights that time we can’t say equal for law. So the legal aid plays vital role for the establishment of Rule of Law; The mind of the lawyer is extending by providing legal aid. Generally many lawyers are greedy for money. If they provide legal aid that time they do not look at the money and the eye of the layer will go to the social development work; In our country in most of the law students have no any practical experience. So if we provide chance join to in legal aid function that time they will work with eager and they will earn some practical experience.
9.3 Disadvantages of Legal Aid:
There are some advantages of Legal Aid and there are also some disadvantages. Such as:
In our society increase cases/suits for legal aid; For legal aid increase broker; It will increase the pressure to Court; A case or suit may be institute without any reason or for a simple matter; The poor person can’t get legal aid because sometimes the rich person wants to legal aid; It does not specify cases for which legal aid can be provided;
The legal aid programme should be institutionalizing according to the developed and democratic country.
In conclusion of this chapter we can say that, the Legal Aid has some advantages and disadvantages also. In our country the Legal Aid laws has some problems and the Government try to fill up the drawbacks of Legal Aid laws.
Chapter - Ten
The functions of Legal aid started governmentally 10 years ago. It is the question that still now Legal Aid provides any facility to the general people. According to the Legal Aid 2000, District Committee will arrange meetings monthly but they cannot complete the meetings successfully because of quorum. There are also some criticism such as follows:
In Bangladesh most of the people are poor and illiterate. They are not aware about their rights. That is why they don’t go to the court for justice; In Bangladesh, the court takes long term for completing a case that is why a person can’t maintain his case for cost. In this case the Government doesn’t take proper step for solving a case quickly; The Government will and NGOs will not arrange any proper program for aware the poor people about Legal Aid; In our country there are some laws regarding Legal Aid but the laws are not properly applied for the poor people; The Legal Aid act, 2000 does not specify cases for which Legal Aid can be provided; The procedure of the selection of the application is not clear in this Act, i.e. the basis of consideration, the criteria for the selection and above all the requisite number of members to give consent to such granting of application is not clear; The accountability of the members of the Board and Committee are not ensured in the Act and for this reason this Act may meet the same fate as other Acts of Bangladesh. It will be treated as mere ambitious work of the government this Act will help the Govt. to speak up in national and international seminars but the fate to the poor people remain largely unchanged; In present time, when a poor get legal aid by the cost of government but also they need to pay to the lawyer and for documents; A poor person can’t get legal aid easily. That means there are some difficult process to get legal aid but it is impossible to maintain the process by the poor people; The Government and NGO do not work together for the development legal aid system.
The extent of Legal Aid in Bangladesh is rather limited. In our society there are many innumerable instances where the lawyers, in there individual capacity are extending such assistance free of any changes to the poor litigants. In some cases lawyers not only do not take fees from the poor clients but also pay the court fees and other incidental charges needed in litigation.
The some recommendations are given below with a view to mate the Legal Aid attractive to the public:
1. The Government should modify and amend the Legal Aid Act, 2000 and other ancillary laws to bring it in conformity with Human Rights.
2. We know that every person has a right to go to the court but poor people can’t go to the court for ends of justice. So the Government should apply the Article 27 of the Constitution of the peoples’ of Bangladesh and provide Legal Aid to poor people without money.
3. Although the some people get help from the Non Government Organization but Government should take proper step. If the government does not help the NGO that time NGO will fail to execute their plan.
4. In our country, any one lawyer provide legal aid in a case but if we encourage the lawyer that time the lawyer provide legal aid in many cases it will helpful for poor people.
5. The government should not confine the legal aid within court fees. If the government paid court fees that time also the poor people can’t run a case. So the Government should provide all the cost of the suits or cases.
6. In Bangladesh, the pauper person are determine by filing a case that is why that person loss many times and money. So the government should make a rule for determining the pauper.
7. The annual reports should be prepared by the district Legal Aid Committees and submitted to the Directorate. The annual will be a compilation of the largely quantitative quarterly reports with an added element of qualitative assessment made by the District Committee on the overall services provided.
8. The Lawyers who are giving legal assistance in their individual capacity will continue this tradition.
9. The certified copies of the relevant necessary documents should be delivered to the poor litigants without any charge fee.
10. Voluntary social organization may also come forward Legal Aid to the poor litigants by giving them financial help to meet various incidental charges required in civil litigation.
11. Provisions embodied in order 33 of CPC relating to pauper suit should be amended so as to entitle a person to sue who is not entitled to property worth tk 100 /= other than the wearing apparels & subject matter of the suit as a pauper. The provision of some order also be amended so as to enable a person not only to sue as a pauper but also to defend a suit or other proceeding as pauper.
12. It should also include activities like spreading legal awareness and educating people on their basic rights with the help of NGO’s.
13. The Government should encourage all relevant NGOs to work as a watchman for development of Legal Aid. If the NGOs play a vital role and work properly then the Legal Aid will be increased.
14. In present time it is necessary to make new rules for paying all the cost of suit of the aggrieved person. Under this process the legal aid gainer and witness of the suit will get accommodation cost.
15. The every court should dispose the case speedily which are regarding Legal Aid. The Court will consider the Legal Aid cases as an important matter.
Lastly it is to be said that Legal Aid helps to for a stable, law and ordered society by encouraging people to take recourse to law instead of taking law in hand.
Legal aid plays an important role for protection of human right. We can hear the voices of expectations on their roles to promote human rights, rule of law, and social justice from all those participants of international legal aid organizations. The legal aid system has been gradually realized in every country and seen as a necessary value in today’s society.
In our country the most of the general people did not aware and familiar with the Legal aid in previous time. However, in present time the general people know some concept about legal aid and it has also their demand.
In our country most of the people are poor and illiterate that’s why they do not go to the court for establishing their rights. In that situation the government made an Act the Legal Aid Act 2000 for establish their rights of justice by entering to the Court.
The Government and Non Governmental Organization should make an easy procedure for getting Legal Aid by poor people easily. The procedures of Legal Aid providing or getting in Bangladesh by the poor people are so difficult. For the difficult proceedings or situation the person can get Legal Aid or not it is the question.
It may be well deserved to state that in order to make the Legal Aid Act, 2000 successful, many structural changes are necessary. The machinery of the government engaged in the execution of free legal aid movement in the state must be geared from bottom to top to the goal of this mission. The Union, Thana and district level administration should act in a proactive manner and let the programme be known at its respective levels. The procedural measures adopted needs to be altered for practical needs. Therefore, as seen and suggested in the field response, filing of suits may be entrusted to the Bar Thana or the District Judge for ensuring easy access and smooth functioning. In this regard, Government may adopt the procedure followed by the NGOs legal aid programme.
In a democratic country it is a prerequisite that all citizens get economic and social justice. Therefore, as long as poor exist in the society, legal aid will be necessary to uphold human rights and equality. Realizing the importance of legal aid in a given social atmosphere the developed countries like UK, U.S.A. and Canada have adopted the legal aid programmed. In these developed nations legal aid has been identified as an effective instrument for erasing the socio economic disparities in their societies. It is for this reason that the benefit of legal aid has been extended to the deserving members of the society not as a charity but as their civil right, having the constitutional backing and support. Legal aid is an instrument to achieve protection in law is also embedded in the Constitution of Bangladesh.
The constitution of Bangladesh, provides different rights of the, people and empowers the HDC for the enforcement of fundamental rights. However, because of the cost involved in the process of litigation, the poor and vulnerable sections of society seldom get the benefit of the constitutional guarantee of the protection of rights. Thus, if we mean actual and real protection we need to consider the provision of legal aid, as well as, measures ensuring that court services are accessible to the people.
The Government and NGO should work together and they should arrange different type’s of program for creating awareness about Legal Aid. If the Government and NGO take necessary step for the development of Legal aid then the poor people can get Legal Aid easily. Then we can establish the ends of justice for all people.
Practical Field Study about Access to Justice and Legal Aid
In Bangladesh there are many NGO but some NGO deal with the Legal Aid. Anybody can’t go to the Legal Aid NGOs because they follow some proceedings.
If I want to prepare a good research about Access to Justice and Legal Aid that time I have need to visit many NGO. The list of NGOs where I went to collect information;
1. Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) (Visiting date 12.10.2012).
2. Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) (Visiting date 30.10.2012, 03.11.2012 and 12.11.2012).
3. Nagorik Uddyog (Visiting date 09.10.2012).
4. Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) (Visiting date 28.11.2012).
Interviews of Legal Aid Organization:
If we want to know about practical scenario about Access to Justice and Legal Aid that time we need to consult with the Investing Officer or Head of Legal Aid Department of NGO or Other persons. I have taken an interview of those people. Such as:
Adv. Md. Khurshid Alam, he is the Legal Aid & Investigation Officer of Nagorik Uddyog. He holds the position of country Representative from 2008 to present time. I take an interview of Adv. Md. Khurshid Alam on 12.11.2012 at 11:30 AM at this office.
Question 1: What are objectives of Nagorik Uddyog ?
Answer: To promote and protect Human Rights and to provide Legal Aid to the poor people for justice.
Question 2: What types of Legal Aid are provided by your Institutions?
Answer: We provide Legal assistant to the victims and also minority.
Question 3: For which offences the Legal Aid is provided?
Answer: Both civil and criminal offences, such as recovery of vested property, rape etc.
Question 4: Do you think that poor people get proper remedy?
Answer: In particularly we see that, the poor get some remedy.
Question 5: Do you think that, the Governmental organizations are providing legal aid properly?
Answer: The government does not provide legal aid properly. In some cases we see that the Police Station did not take the case properly that time call to Police to take that case.
Question 6: We know that everybody has a right to go to Court for remedy. Do you think everybody can go to the Court for proper remedy?
Answer: I think everybody has a right to go to Court, but they can’t go to the Court they should take help of the Lawyer. The government of Bangladesh appoints Lawyer for the poor people for access to Court.
Question 7: Do you think the justice systems in Bangladesh are good?
Answer: In Bangladesh the justice systems are so difficult. Anybody can’t touch his lag in the justice system.
Question 8: Does the Nagorik Uddyog provide all cost or maintenance of a Suit?
Answer: We provide all the cost of a suit from first to last.
Question 9: Do you think the victim or aggrieved person come to Nagorik Uddyog in appropriate time to get legal aid?
Answer: They do not come in appropriate time when they have no way to go that time they come to the Nagorik Uddyog.
Question 10: We know that most of the people of our country are poor. They don’t know about legal aid that time what should we do?
Answer: We should make aware them. We should broadcast the message about legal aid by media more.
In above mentioned interview we can say that, most of the NGO provide legal aid to the victims for ends of justice. They also said that poor are ignored and not aware about legal aid that is why they try to aware them by arranging some program.
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 Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Concept of Laws on Alternative Dispute resolution and Legal Aid, Edition- Second Edition 2008, Published by Razia khatun, Page- 248.
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 Dr. Mizanur Rahman (Editor), Human Rights and Governance Training manual, Edition- August-2006, Published by Manusher Jonno Foundation, 406-407.
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 Act no. XX of 1989.
 Israt Azim Ahmed & Md. Ershadul Karim, Principles of Civil Litigation: Bangladesh Perspective, Edition- June 2006, Published by Law Lyceum, Page- 183-184.
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 Khan Ferdousour Rahman, Undundling Human Rights, Edition- February 2008, Published by Academic Press and Publisher Library, Page-256.
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 Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Concept of Laws on Alternative Dispute resolution and Legal Aid, Edition- Second Edition 2008, Published by Razia khatun, Page-299-301.
 Dr. A. B. M. Mofijul Islam & Md. Akhtaruzzaman (Research Associate), Elements of Human Rights and Legal Aids, Edition- 1993, Published by Humanist and Ethical Association of Bangladesh, Page- 316-317.
 Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Concept of Laws on Alternative Dispute resolution and Legal Aid, Edition- Second Edition 2008, Published by Razia khatun, Page-299.
 Israt Azim Ahmed & Md. Ershadul Karim, Principles of Civil Litigation: Bangladesh Perspective, Edition- June 2006, Published by Law Lyceum, Page- 196-197.
 Abdul Halim & N. E. Siddiki, The Legal System of Bangladesh, Edition- July 2008, Published by University Publications, Page-357.
 Ibid, Page-358.
 Barrister Md. Abdul Halim, The Legal System of Bangladesh, Edition – February 2004, Published by Md. Yousuf Ali Khan, Page -272.
 Dr, Zakir Hossain, Article on Legal Aid is not a Charity, but a Right, CLEP Bulletin, Edition-April-September 2004, Director of Judicial Administration and Training Institution, Bangladesh, Page- 2-3.
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 Ibid, Page-289.
 Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Concept of Laws on Alternative Dispute resolution and Legal Aid, Edition- Second Edition 2008, Published by Razia khatun, Page-262.
 Abdul Halim & N. E. Siddiki, The Legal System of Bangladesh, Edition- July 2008, Published by University Publications, Page-352.
 See, section 3 of the Legal Aid Act, 2000.
 Ibid, section 6.
 See, section 9 of the Legal Aid Act, 2000.
 Ibid, section 10.
 See, section 13 of the Legal Aid Act, 2000.
 Ibid, section 14.
 See, section 16 of the Legal Aid Act, 2000.
 Barrister Md. Abdul Halim, Article on Legal Aid and access to justice: Prospectus and Problems, The author is an advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Page- 12.
 Barrister Md. Abdul Halim, Article on Legal Aid and access to justice: Prospectus and problems, The author is an advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Page- 12.
 Ibid, page- 13.
 Barrister Md. Abdul Halim, Article on Legal Aid and access to justice: Prospectus and problems, The author is an advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Page- 16.
 Ibid, Page- 17.
 Dr. A. B. M. Mafuzul Islam Patwari & Md. Akhtaruzzaman (Research Associate), Elements of Human Rights and Legal Aids, Edition- 1993, Published by Humanist and Ethical Association of Bangladesh, Page- 312.