LAC’s General Legal Aid program provides legal representation free of charge to Cambodia’s poor wherever need arises and resources permit. Specialist projects are also housed with the General Legal Aid program. LAC has provided free legal representation to Cambodia’s underprivileged since it opened its doors in 1995.
Overall objectives: Improve the Cambodian court system and ensure justice for all parties before the courts.
- Ensure underprivileged have access to justice by providing quality legal aid services including advocacy, and by identifying and raising issues of access to justice for all.
- Promote human rights and the rule of law by educating communities, training law enforcement officers and those involved in court and legal administration as to legal and judicial procedures.
- Educate the community as to legal and human rights.
- Be involved in the education of law students in their formal legal education
- Improve the Cambodian legal system by advocacy and empowering the underprivileged to enable them to exercise their rights
To achieve these objectives:
First, LAC will provide free, quality legal representation and consultation to detained parties. LAC staff will assess the needs of each client and provide representation when necessary during litigation, appeals of unlawful pre-trial detention procedures, and appeals of erroneous decisions and unlawful detention conditions.
Secondly, LAC will advocate for reforms to the appeals process and court system. Given the current deficiencies in the appeals process LAC will seek to stimulate changes to ensure that all parties have a fair opportunity to appeal decisions.
Third, LAC will interview detained parties. By interviewing detained parties LAC will effectively uncover unlawful detention procedures and over-detentions that clients may otherwise suffer without the resources to appeal. Fourth, LAC will help unlawfully detained parties appeal their sentences. In the past LAC staff have successfully advocated the release of those over-detained by maintaining contact with the court and advocating the release of clients. Fifth, LAC will educate community members on the rights of parties. By training community members and local authorities regarding the rights of parties in the judicial process LAC will better ensure that the rights of individuals are protected by fellow members of the community and are less prone to violations by local authorities.