Friday, May 29, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre: Calling all volunteer lawyers to take up Legal Aid Files
Contributed by Fadiah Nadwa Binti Fikri

Section 42 (1) (h) of the Legal Profession Act 1976 spells out the object and power of the Malaysian Bar to make provision for or to assist in the promotion of a scheme whereby impecunious persons may be represented by advocates and solicitors.

This particular section has crystallized an institution notoriously known as the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre which is self-funded by the sole contribution of members of the Bar. The Legal Aid Centre is run by the spirit of voluntarism of its lawyers.

Last year the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre (KLLAC) in particular disposed off 16,000 cases under its various programs. This achievement would not have materialized if it was not for the strong and undying commitment of the volunteer lawyers who were ever ready to assist the centre in taking up files in the course of promoting the right to legal representation as a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

Given the increasing number of cases being referred to the KLLAC each year, the KLLAC urges dedicated members of the Bar to sign up as volunteers by taking up cases circulated on the unassigned list on the KL Bar Website every month.

The ongoing efforts and commitment in promoting legal aid have to be continuously supported by the members of the Malaysian Bar in the promotion of legal aid as a universally recognized fundamental right of every individual as enshrined in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 14 (3) (d) of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

This is in parallel with the resolution passed by the Malaysian Bar at the 49th AGM of the Malaysian Bar on 18th March 1995 (Motion 1) which states that “It is hereby resolved that every member of the Malaysian Bar shall take up at least one legal aid case or matter per year as and when required.”

To all dedicated lawyers, do call up the legal aid centre now and register your names on the volunteer lists. Together we strive for the promotion of legal aid by discharging our duties as agents of social justice and nation building.

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