While Promoting the rights of vulnerable communities through provision of quality human rights based legal aid, legal rights awareness, community outreach, empowerment and advocacy.
Who We Are:Justice Centres are a one-stop-shop legal aid service delivery model that seeks to bridge the gap between the supply and demand sides of justice by providing legal aid services across civil and criminal areas of justice to indigent, marginalized and vulnerable persons, while at the same time empowering individuals and communities to claim their rights and demand for policy and social change.
Justice Centres represent the beginning of fundamental efforts to restructure the provision of legal aid in Uganda and the singular objective of making legal aid easily available and accessible at the right time to the most deserving population and at the right place.
Our Vision:Vulnerable societies accessing quality legal services and realizing their rights.
Our Mission:To promote the rights of vulnerable communities through provision of quality human rights based legal aid, legal and rights awareness, community outreach, empowerment and advocacy.
Our Core Values:
Ethics and Integrity
(a) Utilize existing resources and avoid duplication of processes.
(b) Link to government structures.
(c) Community participation.
(d) Deliver cost effective and quality services.
(e) Cooperation and linkages with other stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations and private advocates for pro bono services.
Objectives of Justice Centres Uganda
- To enhance awareness of human rights and empower communities to claim their rights.
- To enable vulnerable individuals and communities to effectively resolve disputes using both litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
- To undertake human rights centred and evidence based advocacy for reform of laws, Policies and Practices.
- To pilot Justice Centres as a model for delivery of legal aid services in Uganda.
3.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
7.Toll free phone line
Who Qualifies For Services?For you to qualify for Justice Centres services, you must be one of the most indigent persons in Uganda.
Districts Served by Justice Centres:Lira : Amolatar, Pader, Apac, Kitgum, Oyam, Dokolo, Kaberamaido, and Kotido districts. Tororo: Bukwa, Bududa, Manafwa, Busia, Pallisa, Butaleja, Namutamba, Bugiri, and Iganga districts.
Contact us: Justice Centres Uganda.
National Coordination office.
Chambers F6 and F8 High Court Building, Kampala.
P. O. Box 26365 Kampala
Tel: Office: 256 759500440/1
Toll free line 080 010 0210
Facebook page on justice centres uganda.
Justice Centres Tororo
Tororo Chief Magistrate’s Court
Uhuru Road, Tororo
Tel: 0759 500443
Toll free line 080 010 0211
Justice Centres Lira
Lira Chief Magistrates Court
Toll Free line : 080 010 0212
Background to the development of the Justice Centres Pilot
The strategy for the Justice Centres has been informed by several processes over the last 3 years that were aimed at reforming legal aid service provision and enhancing access to justice for poor people in Uganda. In particular, the following processes have informed the development of the strategy:
● Baseline Survey of LASPs 2004 which highlighted the limited geographical representation of legal aid service providers to urban areas.
● Establishment of the Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) to coordinate services of Legal Aid Services Providers in Uganda 2004.
● Development of the LABF in 2004 - current strategy runs from 2007- 2010.
● Development of innovative pilots such as the Paralegal Advisory Services (PAS) 2005 from which key lessons have been learnt.
● Joint Survey of Local Council Courts and Legal Aid Service Providers January 2006 which highlighted the limited impact of legal aid services.
● JLOS Strategic Investment Plan II (2006- 2010) - which prioritises access to justice for vulnerable and marginalised groups in the medium term.
● Study tour to South Africa in June 2006 which exposed stakeholders to Models for Legal Aid service delivery.
In response to these processes, the JCs:
● Will be hosted in the Judiciary to ensure effective institutional support and sustainability through their eventual integration into the Government’s planning and resource allocation framework.
● Will be piloted in up country districts serving several outlying areas so as to contribute to widening the geographical representation of legal aid services which have hitherto been limited to urban areas.
● Are to have linkages with JLOS coordination mechanisms at national and district level.
● Work closely with the Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) and collaborate with them on advocacy issues and sharing of learning.
● Will work in collaboration with the Paralegal Advisory Services (PAS) in areas in which it is operative for purposes of tracing witnesses, sureties and identification of prisoners in need of legal aid. Lessons can be learnt from PAS on sustainability – through use of existing mechanisms such as use of social workers in prisons which has highlighted
their role and resulted into recruitment of more social workers with increased resource allocation.
● Will provide legal aid services that empower communities to identify causes and develop
home grown solutions to disputes; and analyse trends for purposes of drawing out issues for policy reform.
● Will anchor their M&E framework in the JLOS Strategic Investment Plan II (2006- 2010) which prioritises access to justice for vulnerable and marginalised groups in the medium term.
● Will largely apply best practices drawn from the South African Model for Legal Aid including the design of formats to be used by the JCs such as the Client Services Charter, User Satisfaction forms, MMT, and filing system.
Key issues in the delivery and access to justice through legal aid
Key issues in legal aid provision in Uganda which JCs should respond to are the limited physical
outreach and use of an approach that has failed to take into consideration the socio economic
context that has led to a vicious cycle of violations. In the delivery of legal aid therefore JCs will
aspire to contribute to the realization of the following components entailed in the right to access to justice. These are:
● Availability – Given their location in rural areas and serving a number of outlying districts, JCs will ensure availability of legal aid services to those that need them most.
● Accessibility – is justice affordable e.g. in terms of cost, corruption, are processes simplified for users to understand or are they turned away by the technicalities and processes e.g. of registering complaints, filing cases, follow up, do users know how to claim their rights e.g. what institution, what process? JC staff will be equipped to support their clients in demystifying the various legal procedures and provide information on institutions where various rights can be claimed both within the clinic and at outreach components. In addition JC staff will be required to explain to clients their cases and the legal procedures involved.
● Acceptability- is the justice system acceptable to users, can the system be adapted to meet the circumstances of communities. In facilitating the interface between justice institutions and users JCs will communicate users’ experiences to the justice institutions especially through DCCs and will in turn ensure feedback on actions taken.
● Quality - how is the process of access to justice? Is it fair and are users confident in the system? What is the quality of decisions taken? The client satisfaction survey forms are some of the mechanisms that can be used to assess the quality of services rendered by the JCs.