Several students in Montserrado County who cannot afford legal fees, stand to benefit from free legal services to be offered them by the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA). The disclosure was made on Wednesday, January 29, at the beginning of a weeklong awareness campaign, at the Kendeja High School, outside of Monrovia.
The awareness is intended to provide free legal knowledge to the students and to explain the working of the LNBA’s Legal Aid Clinic that is situated at its headquarters at the Law Library on Ashmun Street, in Monrovia.
Cllr. Joyce Reeves Woods, the chairperson of the Legal Aid Committee, told the students that the program came into being through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) LPAC program after a proposal was written and sent to the Agency.
She disclosed that the legal aid clinic is there to provide legal services and legal representation to those citizens or persons who cannot afford to pay for legal services or representation in court.
In a question and answer session with the Kendeja High School students, Cllr. Woods explained that the awareness campaign is meant to bring the legal clinic closer to their school, asking them to take advantage of the opportunity.
She informed the students that since the establishment of the clinic, she has noticed students’ inability to access the clinic due to limited awareness campaign.
“We are going to ensure that the awareness campaign will reach every student in the county to enable them to take advantage of the clinic,” Cllr. Woods said.
“We have assigned lawyers at the clinic who are there to provide pro bono services to you. The only thing you can do is to just visit the clinic with your concern and we are there to address it,” Cllr. Woods told the students.
“The clinic is also helping people who do not have money to hire a lawyer or to pay for a lawyer to represent them or her in court. So, pro bono lawyers are there to help provide that free services to you,” Cllr. Woods told the students.
She also advised the students not to pay any money to the pro bono lawyers.
“Don’t pay a dime to any lawyers, they were to request for money for the services they rendered you, just bring the lawyers to complain to us because the program is absolutely free,” Cllr. Woods advised.
According to Cllr. Woods, the clinic is not only involved in taking people to court, but also noted that pro bono lawyers assigned at the facility will be handling family and property issues, as well as some minor criminal cases, stressing: “We will not help you if you are accused of rape, murder, and armed robbery.”
Besides, Montserrado, other counties that are currently benefiting from the Legal Aid Clinic include Margibi, Bong, Grand Bassa, and Bomi.