National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) was established by an Act of the National
Assembly (Legal Aid Act, 2008) and was formally launched in September
2010. The objective of the Agency is to
provide Access to Justice through legal aid services to indigent persons in the
Gambian Society. Those services comprise
court representation, legal advice and assistance, and legal education; and are
provided in any court in the Gambia, at places of detention including Police
station and Prisons throughout the Country, at regional level (all districts of
the Country) by way of Mobile Legal Aid Clinics.
NALA’S Activities in legal aid services fall under headings of LEGAL REPRESENTATION, LEGAL ADVICE, PRISONS and POLICE STATION visits.
Since its inception in September 2010 to date, the Agency has carried out 436 Court Cases involving mainly Murder, Rape, Armed Robbery, Treason, in High Courts in Banjul, Brikama, Mansakonko and Basse; and a wider range of Offences in the Children’s Court of Kanifing, Brikama, Essau and Basse. In the area of Advice and Assistance provided in Prisons, Police Stations, Regions (districts and villages), and office level (for Walk-in-Clients) a total of 1,365 interventions have been recorded.
It could be noted from these statistics that not only has the Agency registered substantial achievements (in spite of meager resources) in the area of Access To Justice; it has also contributed significantly in the country’s fight against Poverty and the effects of poverty. In relation to our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) now called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), NALA’s contribution is singularly noteworthy under MDG Goals 1,2, and 16 (either Directly or Indirectly). Related statistics can be found fully documented in the Agency’s Statutory Reports of 2011, 2012/13, 2014, and 2015.
Prisons and Police Station Visits
In fulfillment of that mandate there have been arrangements in the past for our lawyers to visit the state Prisons at MILE II and JESHWANG Prisons on weekly or occasional basis (mainly Tuesdays and Thursdays) for purposes of providing free legal services
Mobile Legal Aid Clinics
Decentralisation of services to grassroots and wider Gambian population, more than 10,000 persons are provided legal aid services through our team of legal experts that visit various communities conducting a day long legal services in each community.
Constraints and Challenges
Constraints of the Agency are formidable to say the least, and well-recognize by Stakeholders and beneficiaries alike. Under the Legal Aid Scheme. Such constraints have been predominantly inadequate personnel. Other major constraints are mobility, material and budgetary constraints that militate considerably against the operations and service delivery of the Agency. The Agency requires a lot of assistance to help maintain effective operation and greater impact in the provision of legal aid services which is unquestionably valuable to our disadvantaged citizenry and to the equitable and meaningful social development of the Country. In this regard any assistance from individuals, institutions, NGO’s and stakeholders would be highly welcome.