The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) has trained some selected persons as paralegals in the Western Region to offer assistance to children who are in conflict with the law.
The 15 participants were selected from Mpohor, Enchi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Shama districts of the western region
The training is part of the ongoing 3-year project by the Legal Resources Centre with support from European Union that seeks to train paralegals across the country whose mandates are to navigate the child and the family welfare and juvenile justice system while promoting the well-being of children, preventing violence; exploitation and abuse, protecting children from harm and promoting Juvenile Justice.
The project is dubbed, “Justice For Children: Bridging The Gap Between Legislation And Practice”.
The project, as part of its deliverables, has its mandate to engage the services of persons known as paralegals, train and empower them to have a deeper understanding of the ethics and legal frameworks to enable them to effectively prevent and protect children from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Within the broader outlook through the country’s justice for children system, the project is aimed at ensuring that children who come into conflict with the law are adequately protected and their rights promoted through the necessary interventions.
The paralegals are expected to visit the various state institutions such as Commission on Human Rights And Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Police, Department of Social Welfare, Immigration, Prisons etc for information with regard to juveniles protection because these are institutions where children’s cases are reported to.
The project has also created a network of lawyers in the former 10 regions of Ghana to provide legal services for children in the law court.
The paralegals were also sensitized on the need to be confidential with information of parties involved in an arbitration or mediation processes.
In addition to providing legal services to juveniles in court, the project also seeks to provide legal education or legal services to people who are unable to afford for the services of a lawyer, and this comes in a form of paralegals under the basis of Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
A private legal practitioner, Clarke Noyoru who sensitized the participants through the project training manual said as paralegals they are expected to ensure confidentiality in their quest to bring justice to children and also ensure their rights are protected and enhanced.
Mr. Noyoru again advised the participants to desist from any act that will compromise their work as paralegals so that justice for children and the vulnerable who come into conflict with the law would be achieved at the end.
To this end, Lawyer Noyoru implored the security agencies to offer the best of maximum collaboration to the paralegals when they come to their offices for information and assistance.
The Project Officer of the Legal Resources Centre Enock Jengre on his part cautioned the paralegals to always ensure they work within the mandate of their work in order not to abuse the processes or take the necessary steps which are contrary to the concept of the project.
He advised that as paralegals they do not have the remit to handle cases that are supposed to be adjudicated in the law court. He told them to make sure such cases are referred to the court for proper adjudication whilst following up to know the final determination of the case.