Even after passing the Legal Aid Act 2000, it was not possible
to provide service to the justice seekers due to the absence of required
rules on providing legal aid at the highest court of the land. In 2010,
National Legal Aid Service Organization provided only Jail Appeal to the
people who are socially and financially vulnerable through 37 lawyers who
were included into the panel. After that, National Legal Aid Service
Organization (NLASO) and Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) jointly took the
initiative to conduct a survey on how legal aid can be provided by the govt.
and accordingly assigned Barrister Tanjib-ul-Alam to conduct the survey and
later on he submitted the study paper on it. An advisory committee was also
established and the Director of National Legal Aid Services Organization
(NLASO) was the head of the Committee.
After intense observation on the report prepared on the
basis of the findings, the advisory committee recommended enacting and
publishing the Legal Aid Regulation 2015. The publication of the regulation
as gazette notification created the scope of a new beginning on the way of
providing legal aid at the highest court of the land. The recently published
gazette includes the issues regarding increasing fees of lawyers,
jurisdiction of filling cases and some other related issues as well.
However, on 8th September, 2015 Honorable Chief Justice of
Bangladesh officially inaugurated the Supreme Court Legal Aid Office.
USAID's Justice for All Program and the National Legal Aid Services
Organization (NLASO) organized this launching ceremony of the Supreme
Court Legal Aid Office.
This official inception of the Supreme Court Legal Aid
Office ensures that legal aid is accessible to the poor and distressed. Any
eligible applicant can now access free legal aid by submitting an application
to the Supreme Court Legal Aid Office. After reviewing the application, a lawyer
is appointed to represent the applicant free of cost. The government will pay
the honorarium directly to the advocate. The Supreme Court Legal Aid Office
is now available for Civil, Criminal appeals and Writ and others.
The Supreme Court Committee was comprised of 13 members
and Honorable Justice Jahangir Hossain
is the Chairman of the Committee.