The right to legal aid is well entrenched in the International and Regional human rights treaty framework to most of which Uganda is a state party. The provision of legal aid to the indigent has emerged as a dominant intervention in enhancing access to justice for the poor. Legal aid services address the concerns of the poor and vulnerable by focusing on challenges arising from: affordability of user costs, lack of legal representation, and alienation due to technicalities, language and ignorance of legal rights.
Legal aid has the potential not only to enable these vulnerable groups resolve their disputes at the family and community level, but to enhance awareness of legal and human rights, empower them to claim their rights and advocate for social, policy and legal change at community and national level.
While legal aid interventions may not in principle transform the poverty situation of the recipients of services, they greatly contribute to the empowerment of individuals and communities – a key ingredient of poverty reduction efforts.