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“Fund criminal pro bono cases”

KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Oct 2008: Malaysian Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan wants the government to help fund criminal pro bono cases because there are too many for the Bar Council’s legal aid centres to handle.

Ambiga said since last year, the Bar Council had around 18,000 mostly criminal cases for its lawyers to handle on a voluntary basis.

She said it was a strain to manage the current number of cases.

“Every state government has a legal aid bureau but they do not handle criminal cases. Our volunteer lawyers are taking as many cases as they can but it is still too much,” Ambiga said.

She was speaking to reporters after her welcoming address at the Access to Justice and the Role of Bar Associations and Law Societies in Asia Conference here today.

She also said it would be better for the Bar Council to work with a state-funded bureau to cater to the needs of those on trial as it would help Bar Council lawyers with the funds they needed.

“Our legal aid centres are voluntary-based. As you know, if there is too much work for a voluntary organisation to handle, we might just collapse. We really need the government to help us in this matter,” she said.  — Bernama


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