35 paralegals acquire skills

A group of 35 paralegals from the affiliate organisations of the Legal Aid Forum (LAF), on Friday, completed a training seminar in capacity building skills.Paralegals are persons usually without a law degree but possessing relevant skills and training to provide legal advice and assistance to the public.

A group of 35 paralegals from the affiliate organisations of the Legal Aid Forum (LAF), on Friday, completed a training seminar in capacity building skills.

Paralegals are persons usually without a law degree but possessing relevant skills and training to provide legal advice and assistance to the public.

The two-day training aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of paralegals in relation to their work of providing legal aid to the community.

Speaking to The New Times, one of the trainees, Douglas Sebatware, said that the exercise enabled him to get the skills to employ in his daily work.

“We were trained on how to receive and interview the beneficiaries of our services and to mediate and negotiate on their behalf,” he said.

Sebatware stated that they also acquired technical skills on how to aid people access justice.

Mwajuma Nakyanzi, another trainee, stressed that she is now positioned to orient, refer and accompany her clients.

“The training has helped me to improve on the legal knowledge which I use while assisting the people to get legal services,” she noted.

The training followed the recent one held in Huye District in the Southern Province, and both training sessions are part of the nationwide series organized to train the paralegals.

According to Andrews Kananga, the Coordinator of Legal Aid Forum, the lack of basic information about laws, rights and the procedures is a major hindrance to the dispensation justice.

“It is necessary to train these paralegals because we identified that they lack techniques to use while providing legal aid to the beneficiaries.”

“For the paralegals to effectively play their role in the society, they need certain knowledge and skills.”

Kananga mentioned that LAF has recognised the crucial role of the paralegals by developing a paralegal practice manual handbook to use in their day to day work.

The training was also part of a wider LAF programme to strengthen the professional capacity of member organisations to provide quality and accessible legal aid services to all Rwandans.

So far, 180 paralegals have benefitted from similar training since last year.

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