ILF, High Judicial Council Jointly Stress Need for Sustainable and Institutional Legal Aid for Marginalized Groups

Ramallah – On Monday, April 23, 2018, the President of the High Court, the President of the High Judicial Council, Counselor Emad Salim Saad met with Jennfer Smith, the Executive Director of the International Legal Foundation, in the presence of the Secretary General, the Assistant of the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge, Asaad Al-Shenar. The meeting aimed at finding ways of cooperation between the Supreme Judicial Council and the ILF in the field of legal aid by using state resources to develop legal aid provision and to create a system to determine eligibility for legal aid.

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After a brief welcome, Advocate Saad and Mrs. Smith discussed the importance of partnership between the judiciary and legal aid providers, the need to provide adequate facilities for the ILF’s legal aid program in the West Bank, and the shared duty on all parts to protect the interests of Palestinian citizens. Saad stressed the idea that the ILF has championed for eight years, that legal aid should be sustainable and institutionalized to support the marginalized and in need groups in Palestinian society. He added that the presidential committee is in the process of studying the laws governing legal aid and criminal justice, and will be working towards their amendment in line with these goals. He also pledged that the HJC will push for legal aid reform, and that this work aligns with the High Judicial Council’s mission of prompt and fair justice.

Mrs. Smith thanked Advisor Saad the role played by the High Judicial Council and the guidance that the President of the High Court has provided to the ILF. She said that the HJC is crucial to developing legal services for Palestinian citizens, and that those are the bottom of Palestinian society are, and will continue to be, most in need.

Mrs. Smith invited Saad to represent Palestine at the Third International Conference on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems, to be held in Tblisi, Georgia, in mid-November. The conference will be attended by members of the Parliament of Georgia and the heads of judicial councils, ministers of justice and other representatives from the Justice sector from around the world.

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