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Legal Aid Programs in The Middle East and North Africa : Current Practices and Lessons from Other Regions (Inglés)

Legal aid is a relatively new addition to all justice sectors and its organization and operations vary considerably around the world. Types of assistance offered include some mix of fee exemption/deferral; primary aid or counseling and information; and secondary aid or legal representation in specific stages of a trial process. Even within a single country what is offered and to whom vary by client and case type. In MENA, as in other emergent regions, most countries came still later to recognizing the need for legal aid programs. However, a few countries introduced their programs decades ago and Tunisia’s first program dates to 1922. By now nearly all have created one. Except for the early adopters (Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria) programs were usually established by incorporating facilitating provisions within various legal codes (and very rarely in the Constitution). Only a few have a separate legal aid law, although it may still not be consistent with other legislation. For most, the disjointed legal frameworks would require improvements to make these programs works more effectively.

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