It is one of the principles of Natural Justice that "Nobody should be condemned unheard". That is, before condemning a person, the judge must hear the person, if he has anything to say to prevent the miscarriage of justice. Again, article 27 of the Bangladesh Constitution, 1972 provides that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to have equal protection of law.
Legal aid means the assistance in the legal matters both inside and outside the courts to the poor and indigent litigants. Legal aid is a system of government funding for those who cannot afford to pay for advice, assistance and representation. Legal professionals use the phrase 'legal aid' to mean- counseling on any legal issue, giving honorarium to any pleader/ conciliator/ arbitrator, providing monetary aid to bear expenditure of the case, defending a person in a court of law.
Legal aid is the provision of assistance to people otherwise unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system.
Even after passing the Legal Aid Act 2000, it was not possible to provide service to the justice seekers due to the absence of required rules on providing legal aid at the highest court of the land. In 2010, National Legal Aid Service Organization provided only Jail Appeal to the people who are socially and financially vulnerable through 37 lawyers who were included into the panel. After that, National Legal Aid Service Organization (NLASO) and Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) jointly took the initiative to conduct a survey on how legal aid can be provided by the govt. and accordingly assigned Barrister Tanjib-ul-Alam to conduct the survey and later he submitted the study paper on it. An advisory committee was also established and the Director of National Legal Aid Services Organization (NLASO) was the head of the Committee.
After intense observation on the report prepared on the basis of the findings, the advisory committee recommended enacting and publishing the Legal Aid Regulation 2015. The publication of the regulation as gazette notification created the scope of a new beginning on the way of providing legal aid at the highest court of the land. The recently published gazette includes the issues regarding increasing fees of lawyers, jurisdiction of filling cases and some other related issues as well.
However, on 8th September, 2015 Honorable Chief Justice of Bangladesh Surendra Kumar Sinha officially inaugurated the Supreme Court Legal Aid Office. USAIDs Justice for All Program and the National Legal Aid Services Organization (NLASO) organized this launching ceremony of the Supreme Court Legal Aid Office.
This official inception of the Supreme Court Legal Aid Office ensures that legal aid is accessible to the poor and distressed. Any eligible applicant can now access free legal aid by submitting an application to the Supreme Court Legal Aid Office. After reviewing the application, a lawyer is appointed to represent the applicant free of cost. The government will pay the honorarium directly to the advocate. The Supreme Court Legal Aid Office is now available for Civil, Criminal appeals and Writ and others.
The Supreme Court Committee was comprised of 10 members and Honorable Justice M. Enayetur Rahim is the Chairman of the Committee.
The committee provides the following aid to the persons whose yearly income is not more than 1, 50,000 /= taka:
Supreme Court Legal Aid office is also providing the following Services:
Panel Advocates :
High Court Division - 47
Appellate Division - 07
Statistics of Legal opinion and Advice:
Statistics of Legal Aid Recipients and Cases