Under its Legal Aid Program EWLA assists women, particularly disadvantaged women, who are victims of gender-based violence free of charge. The service includes legal advice/counseling, writing court briefs (court charges and affidavits) as well as representing clients in courts.

Legal Aid Service

Legal Aid, handled by experienced lawyers and certified paralegals, is the most important service of EWLA both in its magnitude and coverage where over 250,000 clients across the country have received this service to date. Children, twofold of this number, have benefitted from the service since many women’s needs are related with issues of their children. The paralegals, trained and organized under several committees at grass root level and supervised by the branch offices, provide legal advice to women living around rural areas. Legal aid services are also provided by employees of the Association including volunteer legal professionals who are willing to provide pro-bono service.

EWLA’s legal aid program has played a key role in establishing its credibility and building its constituency through providing free legal aid service to disadvantaged women whose rights are violated. Previously, these women whose basic rights were denied had no recourse but to accept injustice. EWLA’s legal assistance has helped them with access to demand their legal rights in courts. Its impact goes beyond the outcome of any court decision. The awareness that women who are too poor to afford legal fees may still have access to justice strengthens their ill perceived position.

Different activities have been undertaken to help out female victims of violence as considerable number of the cases that come to the legal aid service are cases of gender based violence. The activities include providing legal advice at the office of EWLA, preparing various documents such as petitions, court briefs, affidavits and memorandum of appeals. In addition, depending on the seriousness of the case, staff and members of the association represent selected client cases in courts

Department Contact Info


Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia

+251-11-550-8759
legal_aid_officer@ewla-et.org
legal_aid_coordinator@ewla-et.org

Contact Us

Legal Aid Service

Under its Legal Aid Program EWLA assists women, particularly disadvantaged women, who are victims of gender-based violence free of charge. The service includes legal advice/counseling, writing court briefs (court charges and affidavits) as well as representing clients in courts.
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Who are the beneficiaries of the legal aid service?

Women with no or limited financial capability to access legal services; mothers with the burden of taking care of children while having no money to buy bread, to provide roof over their head, to buy medicine, to send the children to school and to buy clothes; women who have been beaten, bitten, burnt, cut and degraded; girls who have been raped and sexually molested, wedded in childhood, abducted, beaten and burnt; women who have been denied of their property, their jobs and their means of income; children denied of parents, denied of support crucial for their upbringing, and denied of succession.

2

Barriers impeding women from accessing justice

poverty, not allowed to engage in public matters and being highly engrossed in care-taking role in the house, lack of information, not being allowed to speak out loud and as a result not being assertive, acceptance of violence and injustice to them, attitudinal problems towards violence against women and women’s position in the community, gender in sensitiveness of justice sector organs all are factors that impede women from accessing justice.

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Preparation of Written Litigation

considering that justice will be jeopardized for women who cannot access justice sector organs due to lack of finance and information EWLA prepares all litigation papers (suits, responses, appeals, cross-appeals, affidavits) for the women to file at the court. This requires expertise in the legal field as well as other procedural and managerial skills. The types of remedies sought for the clients are various. There have been instances where EWLA’s members or staff members go to administrative bodies when clearly stated laws are infringed. EWLA has maintained good relationship with the police and the public prosecutors in its working years.

4

Representation

In order to assist clients, depending on the seriousness of the case, the possibility of jeopardy of justice for lack of the right intervention staff and members of the association represent selected clients’ cases in courts.Because of its high financial and time cost it is with great care such decisions are made. As representation of cases is undertaken with the aim to set precedence and to save women from failure in their cases it is undertaken with great care and vigor which usually results in success.

5

Legal Advice

Information is very important to succeed in legal litigation. Women who come for free legal service usually are found to lack information. Therefore EWLA examines the reports these women file and forwards effective legal advice which ensures remedies to which women are entitled but have been out of reach to them. Legal advice continues till the end of the litigation which the clients can access through appearing at the EWLA legal aid centers.

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Service Providers

The legal aid service is provided by 16 employees and 300 hundred volunteers with high commitment and expertise which capacitates them to pinpoint the right solutions for cases handled by them. Those volunteers from disciplines other than law are intensively trained in law and serve as paralegals in areas where legal professionals are non-existent. The service the volunteers provide under the EWLA hub is priceless to the Association but it can also be expressed in monetary as well as time terms which come up to 30,000 hours of free service per year.