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Chi Mgbako Discusses the Importance of Paralegals in Africa

Submitted by on January 17 – 2013No Comment

Chi Mgbako, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Leitner International Human Rights Clinic, wrote an op-ed last week for the Huffington Post that examines the importance of paralegals in legal empowerment efforts in Africa. Mgbako emphasizes the essential role that paralegals play in their communities to help individuals fight for their legal rights.

Many African countries face a dearth of lawyers, leaving poorer individuals to navigate the winding road to justice alone. Community paralegals, non-lawyers armed with legal knowledge and a sophisticated understanding of the mechanics of state institutions, use mediation, organizing, education, and advocacy to help individuals and communities demand and realize their rights.

Mgbako also underlined the significance of government acknowledgement of the importance of community paralegals.

Increased government recognition of the essential role that paralegals play in resolving disputes and increasing unhindered community access to state institutions will strengthen frontline justice services, ensure their perpetuity, and reject the notion that it is the fate of the poor to swallow the bitterness of legal disempowerment.

Professor Mgbako serves on the Board of Directors for Namati, a global legal empowerment organization that develops and implements models to combat lack of access to justice.

Read Professor Mgbako’s op-ed in the Huffington Post

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