Centre for access to justice

Required Information for the Project on Access to Justice for Marginalised People and Socially Relevant Legal Education:

 

  1. An Understanding of Legal Aid Clinics set up by NLUO:

Under the project, 3 Legal Aid Clinics have been set up in three districts of Odisha. In Khurda, the Clinic has been set up at Jankia, in Cuttack, it is located at Dompada and in Puri, the Clinic is at Brahmagiri.

 The Clinics have been set up with the co-operation of OSLSA and the villages have been selected after consultation with the High Court and OSLSA on the parameter of legal necessity and available logistical support. The purpose of setting up such clinics is to extend legal aid to marginalised sections of society as well as complement existing government authorities in their actions.

The Clinics are operated by Programme Associates at the village level. Each clinic has one Programme Associate to operate it. They remain open for 5 days in a week, out of which Programme Associates visit the community for 2 days for reaching out to those people who are unable to reach the Clinic because of one problem or the other.

The Programme Associates render paralegal assistance to the visitors. The assistance involves drafting of applications with required annexures, rendering referral services,follow-up of the cases at appropriate authorities, counselling and most importantly, creating a link between NLUO and the community. They also visit the TLSCs, DLSA and OSLSA for follow up of cases, networking and support.

The Programme Associates are monitored by the Programme Coordinator and the entire team including the Programme Coordinator is supervised by the Principal Coordinator

Programme Associates report at NLUO once a week during which time they take feedback from faculty members and students on various cases and also update the team of their weekly activities.

 2. Major Activities under the Project:

Setting up of the Legal Aid Clinics in the three districts.
Organising Legal Literacy Programmes in remote areas of the community.
Launching and continuing the compulsory Clinical course of Legal Aid and PIL in the University.
Organised Training Programme for Community Stakeholders. So far, one Training Programme has been organised where around 100 Community Stakeholders have been trained. As per the project proposal, our goal was to train 50 selected Community Stakeholders.
Organised 5 days’ Lawyers’ Training Programme on “Role of Lawyers in Enhancing Access to Justice for Marginalised People in the state of Odisha”. In this Training Programme, 37 young lawyers have been trained in various aspects of Access to Justice.
Created handbooks, legal literacy brochures and published newsletters as well as one issue of Access to Justice Journal.
2 days’ Consultation Programme (13th and 14th of March) with Centre for Social Justice, Local NGOs and the NLUO Project Team on SDG 16.
3 days’ Consultation Programme for launching an Access to Justice Web Portal and Inviting expert opinion for strengthening the working of the Legal Aid Clinics.
1 day Consultation Programme with the SLSA and 11 DLSAs for deliberating on issues pertaining to Rights of Under trial prisoners in the state of Odisha.
Exposure Visit of the NLUO Project Team to Salgaocar College, Goa to study the working of student-run legal aid clinics.

Staffing:

 1 Principal Coordinator,
1 full-time Programme Coordinator,
3 Programme Associates,
1   Driver

Training Provided to Project Staff:

1 exposure visit to Salgaocar College, Goa to study the working of Legal Aid Clinics.

Type of Support provided to Beneficiaries:

Counselling/Legal Advice, Referral Services, Paralegal assistance like drafting of applications, Legal Awareness, Encouraging out of court settlements, Channelling cases to appropriate authorites, Follow up of cases.

Support provided by UNDP to the Clinics:

Financial support, involvement in selection of staff, monitoring and evaluation.

Other Resources:

The project is complemented by existing resources of NLUO in terms of modern infrastructural support, a fully functional and active Legal Aid Society, faculty members and students.

Response of Beneficiaries:

Our beneficiaries can be broadly categorised into two types: Those trained by us and those receiving benefits in terms of dispute resolution. We have received very positive feedback from both the categories. Our Legal Aid Clinics receive full support of the Panchayat and local people and they co-operate with us for conducting all programmes under the project in the community. Trained beneficiaries go back to the community and stay in touch with us, helping us out in our regular activities of dispute resolution.

Types of Benefits provided to Beneficiaries in Legal Aid Clinics:

Benefits under social security schemes.
Intervention through counselling in family disputes.
Paralegal services like drafting of applications, etc.
Legal awareness
Counselling

Impact of other activities of NLUO under the Project:

Structured Training Programmes provided under the project are very effective in training young professionals like lawyers in the area of access to justice.
We have successfully built a strong network of NGOs and CSOs at the local level and through our Consultation Programmes brought together young social activists, teachers and students on the issue of access to justice.
The compulsory course on Legal Aid and PIL offered at NLUO is distinct in the sense that it is not offered anywhere else in the state of Odisha and to the best of our knowledge, no other National Law University has a full compulsory paper worth 100 marks devoted to clinical legal education which is a significant aspect of legal education.
The Student Legal Aid Society has been instrumental in organising interesting legal literacy programmes in various marginalised sections including prisons.

Newsletters:

Access to Justice Newsletter, Volume-1, Issue-1