BUKOBA: THE Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) has committed to assist poor citizens, who cannot afford to hire advocates in efforts to access timely justice for all.
Chairman of the TLS Kagera Chapter, Mr Raymond Laurent explained that one of the core duties of TLS was to ensure that all citizens who cannot afford to hire advocates get legal representation in court.
“As TLS celebrates 70 years, we are committed to ensuring that all citizens who cannot afford to hire advocates get legal representation in court. This right is also enshrined in TLS constitution,” he said.
Speaking during the Law Day celebrations held at the Bukoba High Court premises recently, Mr Laurent also voiced concern regarding meagre allowances paid to TLS members, while representing accused persons in court.
He explained that the allowances ranged between 100,000/- to 300,000/-, while court sessions last between three days to two weeks, appealing for government intervention to review the rates.
“Apart from getting meagre allowances, the payments also take long time to be paid. We appeal to government to pay TLS members advance payment taking into consideration the cost of living,” he said.
He cited some of the challenges facing TLS to include delay in accessing case lists, case files and other vital documents, saying that some of the documents were very faint and not easily readable.
He advised court authorities to avail the documents to TLS members at least two weeks in advance. Mr Laurent also pointed an accusing finger to some corrupt police officials who impose unbailable offences to the suspects.
“TLS gets disappointed because this practice has been reported several times,” he said.
He also said there are incidents where TLS advocates were mistreated by the police especially when an accused person reports at the police station to make a statement.
“When a TLS advocate interferes, he/she is mistreated or even placed together with accused persons,” he said.
The Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) is the Bar Association of Tanzania Mainland, founded in 1954 by an Act of Parliament- the Tanganyika Law Society Ordinance 1954. The Tanganyika Law Society is currently governed by the Tanganyika Law Society Act, Cap 307 R.E. 2002.
TLS mission is to create a conducive environment for the legal fraternity, facilitate the acquisition of legal knowledge, represent, promote and protect members, to support the state organs in legislation and administration of rule of law and assist the public to access justice in sustainable professional standards