Trouble Chinungu a former employee of KK security can now afford to smile as the Malawi Legal Aid Bureau assisted him with his employment case.
Chinungu sustained injuries whilst on duty and never managed to get compensation for his injury.
Realizing the need for legal assistance, Chinungu sought the Bureau’s services and went through the procedure to be granted legal aid on his matter. Chinungu was granted legal aid and was assigned a lawyer to represent him.
Counsel Molly Nkosi handled the matter and she states that Chinungu pointed out that he claimed compensation for the injury in 2018, however, KK security made no move to assist him. Nkosi lodged Chinungu’s claim to KK security on behalf of the Bureau.
Nkosi says that compensation was paid out after the claim and Chinungu was compensated without proceeding to use formal Courts.
The Bureau continues to assist people in civil matters.Civil cases have increased to 8248 in the year 2019/2020 from 6793 in the year 2018/2019.
The Director and The Deputy Director for Malawi Legal Aid Bureau on Tuesday the 4th of August 2020, met His Excellency the State President of this country
Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace to appraise him on the work the Bureau has been doing over the 5 years of its operations.
In his presentation, the Director of the Bureau highlighted the successes the Bureau has achieved since its inception. These included setting up the operational structure of the Bureau including refurbishment and remodeling of the three regional offices of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. The President was also appraised how the Bureau has performed in rolling out legal aid services across the country by opening the Eastern Regional Office in Zomba in 2018 and opening district offices in Mulanje, Mangochi, Nkhota Kota, Mchinji and Karonga early this year.
The Director of the Bureau also took time to highlight the rather gloomy financial status of the Bureau and this has affected the operations so far.
In his response, the President commended the Bureau for striving for excellence and registering achievements within a short period of time. He assured the directors that his government will provide all the necessary support, financial and otherwise to ensure that the service is accessible to all in need.
Commenting on the meeting, the Director for Malawi Legal Aid Bureau said, the meeting with His Excellency the President was cordial and has given the Bureau fresh impetus to expand and improve on its service delivery across the country.
The deputy director for Malawi Legal Aid Bureau, Mr. Trouble Kalua, travelled to Japan earlier this week to participate in a two weeks training course organized by
JICA Tokyo on “The enhancement of access to justice through effective provision of Legal Aid”.
The training is using the case of Japan to understand how Japan developed their legal aid system and how their approach can be adopted for our local circumstances. “We may not adopt the whole of their system but we can pick and choose bits that may be modified to work for Malawi. They did the same, they also had to fuse systems from Europe and America before coming up with a model that works for Japan now. We are quite happy to walk the same paths trodden by experts,” contently expressed Counsel Kalua.
“Japan has approximately 120 million people but has successful legal system in place. It would be important to learn what they are doing to make their systems work and what lessons can be drawn from them to implement a system as equally successful in Malawi,” concludes Kalua.
The training comprises lectures from respected legal practitioners in Japan who have been involved in legal aid, study visits to the Japan Legal Support Centre, Ministry of Justice, Japan Federation of Bar Associations and Legal Aid offices and call centers. Some of the facilitators are Satoko Tomita (director of Crime Victim Support Division, Japan Legal Support Center), Naoshi Sato (Vice Chairperson on International Relations, Japan Federation of Bar Associations), Manabu Wagatsuma (Professor of Law at Tokyo Metropolitan Law School), among others.
The course has drawn participants from Malawi, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia..
Malawi Legal Aid Bureau conducted a six (6) days training themed “Trial Advocacy Training” aimed at sharpening the skills of lawyers in the institution with funding from Chilungamo (Justice and Accountability) Programme.
The training had two cohorts with a duration of 3 days each. The first cohort sat from 12th to14th of November 2019 while the second cohort sat from 18th to 20th November, 2019. Speaking to one of the Senior Legal Aid Advocates (SLAAs) for the Bureau, Peter Masiye, on the day of commencement, he expressed hope for betterment in the profession. “The kickoff is very promising that I will get better and will not be the same person at the end of these three days. And it is a great opportunity to learn from people who have a lot of years of practice and getting a chance to learn from a judge from the supreme court is a big plus for me.” he said.Masiye also hailed the Bureau’s management and Chilungamo Programme for the opportunity. One SLAA from Northern region office, Hazel Miseleni says the training has been very sharpening and has improved her understanding in other things. “The training has been an eye opener to me personally and getting the opportunity to learn from the Judge himself has hyped my morale. I now know how I can appeal a case when not satisfied with a ruling from magistrate court or high court in the Supreme court unlike before when I did not know how to go about an appeal nonetheless how to conduct myself in the Supreme Court of Appeal.”
Among other topics being tackled at the training is communication between lawyers and concerned parties in cases. It was said that many lawyers do not do well with updates to clients on progress of cases which lead to a lot of problems in the field. Along the discussions it was strongly suggested that it would be great as an institution to have practitioners with integrity of communicating with their clients. As well as documenting each and every relevant communication.
The lawyers are also being encouraged to keep a good relationship with lawyers from other institutions as the trainers say this helps in learning new things in the practice. In addition, they say it helps to know where you can refer your clients in cases where you do not handle or are not an expert.
The training had three mentors on board, Senior Counsel James Masumbu, Justice Mzikamanda (Justice of Appeal) and Counsel Khumbo Soko.
Lawyers who attended the training hailed from Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba regional offices and they were awarded certificates of attendance at the end of each three training days of a cohort.
The Bureau has now embarked on a public awareness campaign to disseminate more information about the Bureau's
services to the people. First off was Ntchisi. The turnout was good, people asked for clarification of issues
and statements were taken onsite. Over 6000 people were reached overall. Next is Karonga, Mulanje and Machinga.
All Thanks to Chilungamo justice and accountability programme a European Union program.
Do you have any legal issues clarified? Do you need legal representation or just legal advice? Do not hesitate to find us at our offices in all the regions.
Lilongwe and all Central Region: we are along Paul Kagame Highway, in Shire Building. Blantyre and all Southern Region: we are in along Victoria avenue, in Immigration Building. Mzuzu and all Northern region: We are in Osman Gani building. Zomba and all Eastern region: We are in Old Parliament Buildings.
The Legal Aid Bureau, with support from the European Union (EU) through the Chilungamo (Justice and Accountability) Programme, will be taking part in the ongoing Malawi Conferederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Trade Fair. Find us at the EU Chilungamo (Justice and Accountability) Programme stand where we will be explaining about the work of the Legal Aid Bureau and the services that we provide. People will also have the opportunity of accessing our services on the spot. For those who will not make it to the tradefair, be sure to catch us live on Zodiak radio and television at 9:45AM and MBC radio and television at 11:30AM on Saturday. We will also be live on Sunday on Times radio and television at 9:00AM and MBC radio and television at 11:00AM.