Bangladesh, November 2013:
Amendments to the Legal Aid Services Act Adopted



In November 2013, the Bangladeshi Parliament adopted amendments to the Legal Aid Services Act of 2000. Starting in April 2013, NCSC and USAID's Justice for All Program (JFA) provided technical guidance and drafting assistance to the National Legal Aid Services Organization, the entity responsible for government legal aid services under the Ministry of Law, to modernize the Legal Aid Services Act, Regulation, and Policy. The amendments formalize the new position of Legal Aid Officer responsible for providing legal advice and facilitating access to legal aid at the District-level. The amendments also introduce mediation services, strengthen monitoring and reporting of government legal aid funds, create a legal aid committee at the Supreme Court level to provide representation for poor justice seekers on appeal, and raise the ceilings for eligibility for legal aid.

The amendments were submitted to the National Legal Aid Service Organization for adoption at the end of August, enabling their processing through the Ministry of Law, Government, and Parliament. The process was made possible through the collaboration and commitment of the JFA Team and leadership of the National Legal Aide Service Organization. The amendments to the law will improve access to justice for all citizens by offering justice seekers a broader range of services and improvements in the administration and efficiency of legal aid services.

USAID’s Justice for All Program is a five-year initiative that aims to promote government legal aid services, judicial excellence, and legal awareness in Bangladesh. For more information, visit our website at www.justice-bd.org.