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Ministry of Justice increases access to legal aid – News

The Ministry of Justice has announced significant changes to legal aid regulations under the Legal Aid Act 1990 (Act No. 29 of 1990).

Acting Ministry of Justice spokesperson Edmund Khoaseb says the changes aim to improve access to justice for poor Namibians.

Khoaseb says one important change is the increase in the income threshold to qualify for legal aid. Under the amended regulations, an individual can now qualify for legal aid if their monthly income does not exceed N$7,000.

“This substantial increase from the previous threshold is expected to ensure that more individuals have access to legal aid at the expense of the state,” Khoaseb added.

He says the Ministry of Justice expects a significant increase in legal aid applications as a result of the changes.

To accommodate this expected increase, the ministry is in the process of appointing additional legal assistance lawyers. The ministry further plans to appoint assistant legal aid counselors to handle criminal cases in the magistrate courts in the next financial year, he said.

Khoaseb further said that the ministry’s allocated budget of N$35 million for the current financial year reflects an increase over the previous financial year’s allocation. This funding will support the ministry’s hybrid model, using both in-house lawyers and private lawyers, Khoaseb added.

To ensure comprehensive legal support, Khoaseb says the ministry will work with the Law Society of Namibia and the University of Namibia Legal Aid Clinic. These partnerships are crucial to ensuring that all clients receive the attention and legal representation they need, he notes.

By raising the income threshold and allocating more resources, Khoaseb said the ministry is making it easier for low-income residents to receive legal aid, giving more people a fair chance to be heard in court.

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