CHAPTER 34
LEGAL AID ACT

Arrangement of Sections

   Section

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

   3.   Scope of legal aid

PART IA
THE LEGAL AID BOARD

   3A.   Establishment of Board

   3B.   Composition of Board

   3C.   Functions of Board

PART II
LEGAL AID SECRETARIAT

   4.   Establishment of Secretariat and definition of its functions

   4A.   Director, Secretary and other staff

   5.   Right of audience of legal aid assistants

   6.   Legal practitioners

   7.   Legal aid committees

PART IIA
LEGAL AID BOARD

   7A.   Continuation of Legal Aid Fund Act

   7B.   Bank account

   7C.   Applications of moneys of Fund

PART III
LEGAL AID IN CRIMINAL CASES

   8.   Legal aid in subordinate courts

   9.   Legal aid in the High Court

   10.   Repealed

PART IV
LEGAL AID IN CIVIL CASES

   11.   Application for legal aid in civil cases

   12.   Powers of Director

   13.   Legal aid in civil actions where the State is a party

   13A.   Minister to specify proceedings for which legal aid may be granted in civil proceedings

PART V
LEGAL AID IN APPEALS

   14.   Applications for legal aid in appeals

   14A.   Application for legal aid in criminal appeals

   15.   Director may grant legal aid for appeals

   16.   Courts may direct the grant of legal aid for appeals

   16A.   Effect of legal aid certificate

   16B.   Remuneration of practitioner

   16C.   Payment of costs of representation

PART VI
FINANCIAL CONSIDERATOIONS OF LEGAL AID

   17.   Contributions towards legal aid

   18.   Ascertainment of means

   19.   Costs awarded to legally aided persons

   20.   Costs awarded against legally aided persons

   20A.   Register of practitioners

   20B.   Assignment to practitioner

   20C.   Registrar to issue certificate

PART VII
MISCELLANEOUS

   21.   Parties to submit to arbitration in certain cases

   22.   Termination of legal aid

   23.   Applications for legal aid on behalf of persons under disability

   24.   Administrator-General may be administrator ad litem in certain cases

   24A.   Person may refuse or dispense with legal aid

   24B.   Reference to Director

   24C.   Vesting of assets of Directorate of Legal Aid

   24D.   Registration of Property to be transferred by Government

   24E.   Legal Proceedings

   24F.   Staff of Directorate of Legal Aid

   25.   Regulations

   26.   Act to bind Republic

      FIRST SCHEDULE

AN ACT

to establish the Legal Aid Board and define its functions, to constitute the Secretariat of the Board, to establish the Legal Aid Fund, provide for the granting of legal aid in civil and criminal matters and causes to persons whose means are inadequate to enable them to engage practitioners to represent them; and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

[Am by s 2 of Act 19 of 2005.]

[Sections 1-19 and 21-27-3rd July, 1967]

[Section 20-20th November, 1967]

Act 30 of 1967,

Act 34 of 1972,

Act 17 of 2000,

Act 19 of 2005.

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1.   Short title

   (1) This Act may be cited as the Legal Aid Act.

   (2) This act shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may, by statutory instrument, appoint.

2.   Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“Board” means the Legal Aid Board established by section 3A;

[Subs by s 3 of Act 19 of 2005.]

“Chairperson” means the person appointed as the Chairperson of the Board under section 3B;

[Ins by s 3 of Act 19 of 2005.]

“committee” means a committee of the Board established under paragraph 5 of the Schedule;

“court” shall include any court or tribunal before which a practitioner may represent a client, but shall not include a local court established under the Local Courts Act;

“Director” means a person appointed as Director of the Board under section 4A;

[Subs by s 3 of Act 19 of 2005.]

“Directorate”…

[“Directorate” rep by s 3 of Act 19 of 2005.]

“Fund” means the Legal Aid Fund continued by section 7A;

[Subs by s 3 of Act 19 of 2005.]

“legal aid” has the meaning given to the expression in section 3;

“legal aid assistant” means a public officer appointed as a Legal Aid Assistant or Senior Legal Aid Assistant;

“legal aid committee” means a committee established in accordance with the provisions of section 7;

“legal aid counsel” means a public officer appointed as a Legal Aid Counsel, Assistant Senior Legal Aid Counsel or Senior Legal Aid Counsel;

“member” means a member of the Board appointed under section 3B;

[Ins by s 3 of Act 19 of 2005.]

“practitioner” shall have the meaning assigned to the word in the Legal Practitioners Act;

“Registrar” means the Registrar of the High Court;

[Ins by s 2 of Act 17 of 2000.]

“Secretary” means the Secretary of the Law Association of Zambia;

[Ins by s 2 of Act 17 of 2000.]

“Secretariat” means the Secretariat of the Board constituted under section 4.

[Ins by s 3 of Act 19 of 2005.]

“specified offence” means an offence of a class specified by the Minister by statutory order for the purposes of section 9; and

“subordinate court” means a court constituted under the subordinate courts Act.

[S 2 am by Act 34 of 1972.]

3.   Scope of legal aid

   (1) Legal aid shall consist, on the terms provided for in this Act, of—

      (a)   the assistance of a practitioner including all such assistance as is usually given by a practitioner in the steps preliminary or incidental to any proceedings or in arriving at or giving effect to a compromise to avoid or bring to an end any proceedings; and

      (b)   representation in any court.

   (2) Save as otherwise provided in or under this Act—

      (a)   the fact that assistance or representation is by way of legal aid shall not affect the relationship between or the rights of practitioner and client or any privilege arising out of such relationship; and

      (b)   the rights conferred by this Act on a legally aided person shall not affect the rights or liabilities of any other parties to any proceedings or the principles on which the discretion of any court is normally exercised.

PART IA
THE LEGAL AID BOARD

3A.   Establishment of Board

   (1) There is hereby established the Legal Aid Board which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, capable of suing and of being sued in its corporate name, and with powers, subject to the provisions of this Act, to do all such acts and things as a body corporate may by law do or perform.

   (2) The provisions of the Schedule shall apply to the Board.

[S 3A ins by s 4 of Act 19 of 2005.]

3B.   Composition of Board

   (1) The Board shall consist of the following part-time members appointed by the Minister—

      (a)   a person qualified to be a judge of the High Court who shall be the Chairperson;

      (b)   the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry responsible for justice;

      (c)   a representative of the Law Association of Zambia;

      (d)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for home affairs;

      (e)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for finance and national planning;

      (f)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for community development and social welfare;

      (g)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for labour;

      (h)   a representative of a non-governmental organization active in the promotion of human rights;

      (i)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for sport, youth and child development; and

      (j)   one other person.

   (2) The members referred to in sub-section (1) shall be nominated by their respective organisations or ministries.

   (3) The person referred to in paragraph (j) of sub-section (1) shall be a person who has expertise in the administration of justice or law.

   (4) The Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by the members of the Board from among their number.

   (5) A person shall not be appointed as a member of the Board if the person—

      (a)   is an undischarged bankrupt;

      (b)   has been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty; or

      (c)   has been convicted of an offence under any other written law and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than six months, without the option of a fine.

[S 3B ins by s 4 of Act 19 of 2005.]

3C.   Functions of Board

   (1) The functions of the Board shall be to—

      (a)   administer and manage the Legal Aid Fund;

      (b)   facilitate the representation of persons granted legal aid under this Act;

      (c)   assign practitioners to persons granted legal aid under this Act;

      (d)   advise the Minister on policies relating to the provision of legal aid and implement Government policies relating to the same; and

      (e)   undertake such other activities relating to the provision of legal aid and which are conducive or incidental to the performance of its functions under this Act.

   (2) Notwithstanding sub-section (1), the Board may, by direction in writing and subject to such conditions as it considers fit, delegate to any member, committee or the Director any of its functions under this Act.

[S 3C ins by s 4 of Act 19 of 2005.]

PART II
LEGAL AID SECRETARIAT

[Am by s 5 of Act 19 of 2005.]

4.   Establishment of Secretariat and definition of its functions

   (1) There is hereby established the Secretariat of the Board which shall have the functions of implementing the decisions of the Board.

   (2) Without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (1) the Secretariat shall—

      (a)   undertake the representation of persons granted legal aid under this Act;

      (b)   be responsible for the day to day administration of the Board;

      (c)   subject to the general or special direction of the Board, manage and disburse funds from the Fund for the purposes of this Act; and

      (d)   perform such other functions as may be assigned to it by the Board.

   (3) Subject to section 13, where the Board or the court grants legal aid to a person under this Act, the Director shall, unless the Director allocates a matter in question to a practitioner under section 6 provide that person with such of the services included in legal aid as the person may require.

[S 4 subs by s 6 of Act 19 of 2005.]

4A.   Director, Secretary and other staff

   (1) The Board shall, with the approval of the Minister, appoint a Director on such terms and conditions as it may, with the approval of the Minister, determine, who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Board and who shall, subject to the control of the Board, be responsible for the day to day administration of the Board.

   (2) The Director shall attend the meetings of the Board and any committee of the Board and may address such meetings, but shall have no vote.

   (3) The Director shall be the Secretary to the Board.

   (4) The Board may appoint a Deputy Director who shall—

      (a)   assist the Director in the performance of the Director’s duties under this Act; or

      (b)   discharge the functions of the Director if the Director is absent or is for any other reason unable to discharge the functions of the Director’s office.

   (5) The Board may, on such terms and conditions as it may with the approval of the Minister determine, appoint such legal aid counsel, legal aid assistants and other staff for the Board as it considers necessary for the performance of its functions under this Act.

[S 4A ins by s 6 of Act 19 of 2005.]

5.   Right of audience of legal aid assistants

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