BAHIR DAR UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL OF LAW
FREE LEGAL AID CENTER
“EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE!”
Equal access to justice involves extending the reach of formal rule of institutions to the society by removing barriers. Among various mechanisms to ensure equal access to justice, provisions of free legal aid services are believed to be effective in increasing access to vulnerable segments of the population especially women, children, people with disability, prison inmates and HIV/AIDS victims.
Bahir Dar University, as part of its responsibility to provide community service, is closely working with stakeholders in the region towards increasing access to justice through provision of free legal aid service.
Bahir Dar University Free Legal Aid Center (BDULAC) (formerly known as Human Rights and Legal Aid Center) was established in October 2005 with joint efforts of Bahir Dar University and Action Aid Ethiopia, Northern Region Office. After being in operation until the end of 2009 G.C, its services were interrupted for reasons of budget and related problems.
In November 2010, reconsidering the role such community services could play in ensuring equal access to justice; Bahir Dar University and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission have agreed to continue the activities of the center.
The mission of Free Legal Aid Center of Bahir Dar University is to help low-income residents of the region with special focus on women, children, people with disability, people living with HIV/AIDS and people suspected of crimes obtain equal access to justice by providing them with advice, and representation in legal matters; advocating for their legal rights; and conducting community education about the legal issues that affect them.
Bahir Dar University Free Legal Aid center envisions a legal system where legal rights of all including women, children, people with disability, People living with HIV/AIDS have equal access to justice.
The center has continued its service with the following main objectives;
- To provide free legal aid service to those who cannot afford to obtain it, especially to vulnerable segments of the society
- To ensure that Bahir Dar University has effectively discharged its responsibility of provision of community service
- To offer practice oriented legal education to law students of Bahir Dar University
TYPES OF SERVICES
Currently, BDU Free legal aid center provides the following services to clients
- Legal Counseling
- Preparation of pleadings
- Representation before court of law, whenever necessary.
- Radio Programme via ANRS FM Radio on selected legal issues
Currently, Bahir Dar University Free Legal Aid Center has six centers inside and around Bahir Dar city. These include;
- Main Center located at Amhara Women Association Office, Kebele 13, Bahir Dar.
- Prison center located inside West-Gojjam Zone Prison Administration, Bahir Dar.
- Woreta Center; Inside Fogera District Administration Compound.
- Debre Tabor Center; Inside Debre Tabor Zone Justice Bureau Compound.
- Enjibara Center; Inside Awi zone high court compound.
- Finote Selam Center; inside Jabi tenah district justice bureau compound .
PARTENERS AND STACKHOLDERS
Bahir Dar University Free Legal Aid Center works in close partnership with:
- Bahir Dar University, School of Law,
- Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
- Amhara National Regional State Supreme Court
- Amhara National Regional State Justice bureau
- Amhara National Regional State Police Commission
- Amhara National Regional State Prison Administration Commission
- Amhara National Regional State Women, Children and Youth Bureau
- Amhara Women’s Association
- Amhara Lawyers Associaiton
- Amhara National Regional State Labour and Social Affairs Bureau
- From 2005 G.C to 2009 G.C while working in collaboration with Action Aid Ethiopia, Bahir Dar University Legal Aid Center had provided free legal aid service for about 3,500 indigents. From November 2010 G.C until April, 2012 G.C the center has provided its service to more than 3,000 indigenous clients.
- The center has trained selected fourth year law students who will soon replace the graduating class volunteers.
- Bahir Dar University Free legal Aid center is also serving, as a forum where graduating class students of law school will undertake their externship programme. By this, students are enabled to appreciate empirical facts and evidences that will support their theoretical knowledge.
MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE AND HUMAN RESOURCE
- Dr.Mizanie Abate, Director, School of Law
- Gizachew Sileshi, Coordinator, BDU Free legal Aid Center
- Selamawit Bogale, Vice-Coordinator, BDU Free legal Aid Center
- Abel Alemu, Legal Attorney of BDU Free Legal Aid center