Legal Aid Bureau (LAB)

IRLI seconds a Programme Lawyer to the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB), who is based directly in the LAB office in Lilongwe and works alongside Legal Aid advocates and paralegals from the Paralegal Advisory Service (PASI).


Community sensitisation session in Dedza District, May 2018. Photo Credit: Jolene Quinn

The LAB Programme Lawyer facilitates training for paralegals from LAB, the DPP and from PASI on key legal concepts and procedures. The LAB Programme Lawyer also works closely with the LAB and PASI to support bail applications for vulnerable accused persons (particularly children in conflict with the law.)

Limited resources often prevent prisoners from being transported to a formal courtroom. IRLI’s LAB Programme Lawyer organises regular camp courts whereby a Magistrate or Judge travels to the prison and conducts hearings on site, thus saving on costs and allowing prisoners exercise their right to be heard. The Magistrate or Judge will address the cases of those on remand that have overstayed, are held unlawfully or have been granted bail but cannot afford the terms set by the court.

Our Alternative Justice Programme Officer also works with LAB and PASI to deliver a community sensitisation programme, which educates rural communities about:

  • the criminal justice system;
  • the role of the police;
  • the rights of the accused, including bail; and
  • the rights of the child, highlighting diversion as an alternative to custodial sentences.