New Legal Aid Act in Tanzania officially recognizes paralegals

Our network is excited to announce that Tanzania has passed a new legal aid law that officially recognizes paralegals. The Legal Aid Act was signed into law on March 3rd, 2017 and Section IV of the law designates special provisions on paralegals, including qualifications for paralegals and legal aid services provided by paralegals.

Please join us in celebrating this hard fought victory and ask any questions about the law that you may have.

It is notable that paralegals who have served as such for two years or more before the passage of this law are also recognized under the new law, and that while paralegals may provide legal aid services they “shall not charge any fee from an aided person for the provision of legal aid under this Act.” These two points were under deep debate when we were discussing the draft law during the @exchange_2016tanzania in July 2016.

Thanks to @fortunata for sharing this news with us and congratulations to our network members who have been advocating for this law and many of the Tanzanian paralegals who are influenced by it (@Wigayi @Kees @FloraMasoy @mrblastuskahemela @ScholasticaJullu @nobel @Jovin_Sanga @samsonmmari @AbdallahMgaya @ngowi @WolframNziku @BenardMosira @DAVIDYOHANA @SIAYI @TimothyYaile @AndrewExavery @jamilalugembe @tikemwambipile).

I know that many members will be interested to hear this news, especially those engaged in advocacy for formal recognition of paralegals in their own countries, from Nigeria to Ukraine to Liberia and beyond, to others who have recently achieved legal recognition as well (@fatimaadamu @mustafa_mahmoud @sonkitaconteh @danielsesay @Olga_Halchenko @AimeeOngeso @vivekmaru @abigailmoy @staceycram @mckinleycharles).

The text of the new law can be found in our resource library at the link below:

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Dear all, For sure we celebrate together on the enactment of the Legal Aid Act,No.1 of 2017 which recognize the Legal Aid Providers including the Paralegals.The will of the Government of Tanzania which tabled the Bill in the Parliament with the cooperation from the stakeholders such as LSF and others which resulted to this Law must be appreciated. Though the funding mechanism is still a challenge to those who provide Legal aid including the Paralegals.I call upon the Global Legal Empowerment Network to share widely the means of improving the Funding mechanisms which will make the Legal Aid Providers including the Paralegals to be sustainable. Regards, Blastus Kahemela.

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Thank you @MichaelOtto for the updates! Congrats to all @TzTeam for a well done job and efforts.

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together we can make changes now we are free to work hard us paralegal in the communities

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Dear Michael

It was really a big success which involved a lot of struggle from civil society organisations. We are happy because almost all of our recommendations were accepted.It also involved sensitizing the parliamentary committee for legal issues.The issue related to paralegals was a big challenge but finally the result is good as paralegals who existed are going to be recognised by the law. It was a good experience and strong solidarity with a lot of support from development partners of which Legal Services Facility in Tanzania played a big role.

All the best Michael and NAMATI team. Flora Masoy

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That’s Great, congratulations,may God continue to Blessed the works of Your hands. I pray and hope that Liberia will one day reach that stage. Eleane

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What fantastic news! :grinning: Congratulations @Wigayi @Kees @FloraMasoy @mrblastuskahemela @ScholasticaJullu @nobel @Jovin_Sanga @samsonmmari @AbdallahMgaya @ngowi @WolframNziku @BenardMosira @DAVIDYOHANA @SIAYI @TimothyYaile @AndrewExavery @jamilalugembe @tikemwambipile and all the others who worked hard to get this important law through. :sparkles:

I imagine you learned a lot in the process and am certain other network members would take great value in hearing from you about what worked well and didn’t work so well with your advocacy. I do hope one of you might consider starting a post about it? Even quick bullet point tips would be so useful, and then others who were involved could add to it. If one of you does start such a post, please tag me so I can ensure it is also widely shared via Namati’s Twitter and Facebook accounts :smiley:

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I am joining you all to celebrate this hard fought victory.Thank you again

SIAYI

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We generally thanks the government of Tanzania and all stake holders who were collectively involved in one way or another to pioneer this paralegal bill and ultimately became a law. In my views what worked well:

  •     Paralegals are now legally recognized
    
  •     Paralegals volunteering habit is now honoured by people and by the law 
    
  •     Paralegals units could become very huge law firm in the few coming years
    
  •     Paralegal activities and security is now protected by the law
    

Challenges that would arise in implementing the paralegal law requirements:

  •     The entrance criteria for being a paralegal is now specified by the law, so those who worked as paralegals before, some of them are not meeting the qualification of continuing with paralegal activities.
    
  •     Training is inevitable, so training related costs are the big challenges to paralegals, as you know the activities is purely volunteering
    
  •     Paralegals who misbehave could be charges according to the new law.
    

Generally we are very happy for being recognized by the law. I hope the paralegal activities could be ran in a better way than ever before. Thanks.

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Big congratulations to all players in background for this outstanding success !! It is an exciting example for us who working hard for the recognition of paralegal in this region. We highly appreciate all efforts in this regard. Looking forward to hearing more @MichaelOtto

Cheers Zia Centre for Peace and Justice BRAC University

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It’s been amazing to see the growing legal empowerment movement in Tanzania. Congratulations on this important moment of institutional recognition.

Now comes implementation.

Look forward to learning from our Tanzanian colleagues in the years to come.

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@BenardMosira, I had a follow up question to your comment

The entrance criteria for being a paralegal is now specified by the law, so those who worked as paralegals before, some of them are not meeting the qualification of continuing with paralegal activities.

My understanding of the law was that paralegals who were working for the two years before the law passed were included and allowed to bypass some of the other new entrance criteria - would be curious to hear how this works out or if there is any further information on whether new criteria would block any current paralegals.

As @vivekmaru mentioned, implementation is now the big challenge and this would be one of many aspects to consider. Perhaps the network could compile tips for implementation based on members who have successfully gained recognition of community paralegals.

And thanks @Zia_Uddin, we are hoping to hear news on formal recognition from Bangladesh in the near future too.

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Formal recognition of paralegals in Tanzania is really a milestone and we celebrate with you. This is great news and congratulations. In Uganda, we are still advocating for the same. Regards, Bisikwa Barbara Legal Officer UGANET P.O Box 70269, Kampala +256-414574531/+256-787671370 BisikwaBarbara@uganet.org/bbisikwa@yahoo.co.uk

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What the memorable success in legal field,TANZANIA.Am really seeing how empty handed individuals are going to be educated,advised,instructed on their legal-conflicted issues.Am seeing the big number of Tanzanians who are going to benefit the Legal Aid Service under Legal Aid Act 2017.

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really we appreciate the move, and now from every corner in Tanzania we are going to see the watcher and an educator to the very very vulnerable and unforgotten society handed with tools and security That is The Legal Aid Act To Our Country Tanzania… We are Happy to See Our Foot Step during the act of putting Laws into peoples Hand are under control and honored

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Congratulations. Paralegals in a legal aid environment play a vital role Elizabeth Nieuwoudt Legal Aid SA

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Congratulations Tanzania.

Let us continue the struggle for the recognition of Paralegals in other countries. We are also in the process in our country. Together we can make it.

Lucky Mkhize South Africa

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Yes The Voice of Marginalized Community (TVMC) Team is among of organization which participated a full in legal aid law that recognizes paralegals in legal aid provision

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Hello Mr. Kahemela, I am so happy for the hard work you put in place that had resulted to the passage of the Legal Aid Act. Great job!!!

Thanks Bindu from The Carter Center/Liberia Access to Justice Program

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I am very happy that Tanzania will be among the countries which is having the legislation regulating the Legal Aid provision and Paralegals. Hope will be very useful and increase the legal empowerment in the community so that the laws are becoming helpful to all including the disadvantaged groups.I would like to know if in future Namati if having some programs to engage the Government/Public in Advocacy?

Thank you, Blastus

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