Research and Advocacy
Starting with a legal aid baseline study in 2007, we have produced several important research documents, which formed the basis for our evidence-based advocacy. The baseline study continued to be used by the Legal Aid Forum members and policy makers to shape policy, decide interventions, and measure progress.
Our credibility, professionalism, and the quality of our research gave us a strong voice within the Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order Sector (JRLOS), and ensured that most of our recommendations were considered and acted upon. The Ministry of Justice consults the LAF regularly, and we act as the main civil society representative in the JRLOS.
We believe that one of our greatest strengths lies in our diverse membership, which helped to establish LAF’s reputation for impartiality. In 2009, our comments on the draft Law on the Bar were prepared by a task-force comprising of a national NGO, an international organization, a university legal aid clinic, and a professional body. This collaborative process led to a strong submission and implementation of most of our recommendations, such as the need for lawyers working for civil society organizations to have standing to represent clients in court.
LAF plays a significant role in monitoring the indicators set by the state institutions in their policies on access to justice with information gathered from our network, and through targeted research projects. LAF recommendations lead to concrete actions being taken to address human rights offences, reduce capacity gaps, and introduce innovate solutions to justice problems.