Today, the ICJ launched a legal aid clinic project in collaboration with Great Zimbabwe University, Herbert Chitepo Law School to help facilitate the establishment of a legal aid clinic at the University’s Mucheke campus.
The clinic is located at the Mucheke Campus of University in a high-density suburb in Masvingo, thereby making the services offered by the legal aid clinic more accessible for persons from disadvantaged or marginalized groups in the community.
The project, supported by the European Union, aims to improve access to justice for communities by offering free legal assistance at the University legal aid clinic, while also providing an opportunity for students to develop critical skills that will enhance their work as legal practitioners. The activity is part of a wider initiative to develop and improve University legal aid clinics in Zimbabwe.
Arnold Tsunga, the ICJ Africa Regional Director, remarked that the launch of the legal aid clinics is a building block towards greater access to justice for the people of Zimbabwe and a positive step towards attainment of SDG 16 which speaks to the importance of peace, justice and strong institutions.
Francisca Midzi, a representative of the European Union delegation to Zimbabwe, stated in her remarks that “as the law students encounter real legal problems faced by the people, [the initiative] will teach them to have a social and professional responsibility to pursue justice in society. Herbert Chitepo Law School is injecting and inculcating a spirit of service in their students and they will carry it wherever they go to practice law and gradually this will transform Zimbabwe’s legal system to be more concerned about a court user who has limited knowledge and means to fully access justice.”
Professor R.J. Zvobgo, the Vice Chancellor of Great Zimbabwe University, commended this milestone achievement and stated that it provides an opportunity for the students to give back to the community by improving the ability of persons from affected groups to access justice.
“The free legal aid assists in eradicating the notion that a university is an ivory tower, divorced from the realities of the community in which it is located,” he said.
Brian Penduka, e: brian.penduka(a)icj.org, t: +263772274307
Elizabeth Mangenje, e: elizabeth.mangenje(a)icj.org, t: +263774742420NewsWeb stories