Giving update on achievements since March 1, Ms. Carlton-Hanciles disclosed that eleven legal aid organizations have so far collected Accreditation Forms from the offices in Freetown and Makeni. ‘We have not had individuals engaged in the provision of legal aid – lawyers and paralegal – picking up the forms, even though there are many around the country,’ she said. ‘We have written to the Sierra Leone Bar Association to reach out to members engaged in providing legal aid.’
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles has warned that on the expiry of the three-month deadline for Accreditation, those who are not accredited should not provide legal aid because it will be an offence under the Legal Aid Act 2012 to do so. ‘The Legal Aid Act 2012 is very clear on the consequences for non-compliance,’ she said. ‘This is why we are going the extra mile to encourage the Legal Aid Service Providers to be accredited.’
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said that as part of these efforts, the Board is meeting donors and the diplomatic community to brief them on the exercise and canvass their support next week. ‘They will have to provide assistance to legal aid providers that are accredited by the Board,’ she said.
The meeting will also discuss a few concerns regarding the modus operandi of some donors. The Board has observed that some donors also provide legal aid services. The position of the Board is that donors cannot implement legal aid programmes.