Facilitating Legal Counseling Sessions at the Community Level
Information on land distribution, legal procedures at court, Process of obtaining land documents, Inheritance Rights, Guardianship rights, Family laws, land-related laws, Dowry, Domestic violence and Procedures to appeal and get justice.
Legal Aid Clinic is an exceptional creative intervention of the Access to Justice Project of Nagorik Uddyog, whereas Panel lawyers of Nagorik Uddyog facilitated the legal counseling sessions and provided counseling services to the community at no cost that included information on land distribution, legal procedures at court, the process of obtaining land documents, inheritance rights, guardianship rights, family laws, land-related laws, dowry and domestic violence cases, and so on. This activity is popularly known as the “Legal Aid Clinic” among the village people. With the assistance of trained Community Paralegals (CP), the panel lawyer and CPs sat at the community level in a specific place to provide counseling services as well as conduct legal aid sessions. This is one of the proactive activities of this project. As rural people have very limited knowledge about legal laws and their procedures, they attended the sessions with high interest. Also, the harassment by the lawyer in court, corrupted agents’ misinterpretation of information, and wasted of time, force community members to become aware of different laws, procedures, and the right way to claim their demands. In this session and counseling services, Lawyers are discussed on different issues, laws, and procedures to appeal and get justice.
Besides, they also influence the community to take community mediation instead of going court as a replacement of alternative dispute resolution. Particularly poor, disadvantageous, and marginalized people attended the sessions and took services from the lawyers. During the period from September 2022 to May 2023, a total of 453 (M- 272, F-181) vulnerable community people took services from the 36 Legal Aid Clinic sessions on different issues in the six upazilas (Rangpur Sadar, Badarganj, Pirgonj, Banaripara, Kaukhali, and Barishal Sadar) of three districts (Rangpur, Barishal, and Pirojpur).
Recipients have shared their feelings after taking services from Legal Aid Clinic, Barishal Sadar Upazila.
“My daughter has been continuously tortured at her father-in-law’s house. She came home after three months. She could not tolerate her husband’s and her laws misogynistic torture anymore. In this situation, I don’t understand what I should do. And that’s why I came here to this Legal Aid Clinic to take advice from the lawyer. The lawyer said to me Settle the dispute through familial Shalish, or if it does not work, then we need to file a case in family court to resolve the problem”. I really benefited from the advice, as I do not know where to go or how to settle these issues. I wish my daughters would get justice” _ Taslima Begum, Charbaria Union, Barishal Sadar
“After my father’s departure, my brother dispossessed me of his property. How can I obtain my property rights so that I can receive my true share of my father’s estate? I came here to seek legal counsel specifically for that reason. The lawyer heard about my experiences with great patients. After hearing about my experiences and considering the circumstances, the lawyer advised me to execute a deed of partition. I am really thankful to him, as I did not get any true solutions. I appreciate NU’s initiatives for the underprivileged” _ Saheba Begum, Char Kauwa Union, Barishal Sadar.
The Legal Aid Clinic Services summary is as follows: