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Our aim is to make justice more accessible' says LCBP Project Manger

Aug 13, 2010, 12:43 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Robert Neil Hutley, the Project Manager of the Legal Capacity Building Programme (LCBP) Phase II of the UK Department for International Development (DfID) has said that the whole purpose of the LCBP is to make justice more accessible to the poor and disadvantaged in society.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," Barrister Hutley said, adding that since the start of the project, there have been excellent and significant strides in the improvement of the quality of justice in The Gambia.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with our reporter yesterday, Mr. Hutley said the LCBP is a three-year project helping three institutions namely, the Ministry of Justice, Gambia Bar Association and the Judiciary.

"We have installed functional computers in three high court rooms so as to facilitate speedy justice, and the reporting of court proceedings in a more accurate manner. We have done a significant amount of training for judges, senior judicial staff, and magistrates, all geared towards capacitating them," he added.

The project, he stated, supported the development of strategic plans, and the supply of a significant number of computers.

Mr. Hutley told our reporter that they also supported the appointment of six temporary judges presently serving at the high court in Banjul, with the purpose of dealing with the huge backlog of cases.

"LCBP Project has also funded and organised three Supreme Court sessions and the Chief Justice travelled to Ghana to recruit Supreme Court judges. We also supported the Solicitor-General in scouting prosecutors for the AG Chambers," he noted.

Barrister Hutley said his project also facilitated court sittings in the provinces to support the reduction of the backlog of cases, noting that they provided substantial training for district tribunals and the publication of legal journals.

For the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Hutley said through the LCBP project, they have established a comprehensive law library at the Ministry of Justice with legal textbooks and computers.

He said they also helped in the electrification of the Ministry of Justice, and sent secretary trainers to Swaziland and conducted management training for staff of the ministry.

He further stated that the project has contributed immensely towards ensuring justice delivery, adding that they have also supported the legal drafter to go to the UK for high level legal drafting.

Dilating further on the support rendered by the project, he said, the project supported the Gambia Bar Association, citing the establishment of the GBA Secretariat and the conference room, as well as payment of the executive secretary?s salaries.

"The project sponsors the Bar Week and sent some members of the Bar to Uganda," he said, adding that the project will phase out in June 2011.

Also speaking in an interview, Sanna Dahaba, the Project Co-ordinator said the objective of DfID's support is to ensure that the Gambian legal system is strengthened through the introduction of incremental reforms that will improve efficiency and effectiveness. This, he added, will better ensure access to justice to the poor.

"Phase II will continue to develop the progress gained in phase I (2004-2007). It will support DfID's overall policy in The Gambia, which focuses on promoting human rights and participatory processes, and achieving better performance against international development targets through the PRSP framework," Dahaba added.