LAC WALK IN CLINIC
The main aim of the Legal Clinic is to provide legal services and advice for those who are unable to afford legal services. Law Clinic, or familiarly known as Legal Aid Clinic operates at Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre from Monday to Friday starting from 10 am to 4.30 pm. The pupils, volunteer lawyers and the secretariat are the main pillars of this program. People who are interested to seek legal advice can do so by “walking-in” during the time and day as stated above and the volunteers will assist them.
This program is a response made by the government to ensure that all citizens of Malaysia have access to legal services. In addition, this program is aimed to develop the sense of social obligation and responsibility and on overall concern about fairness and justice.
Syariah Legal Clinic is a program where pupils (with the advice of experienced Syariah legal practitioners) render legal advice to the public in relation to Syariah matters. The Syariah Clinic service is provided at the Legal Aid Centre and open to public daily from Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm. Matters handled by the Syariah Legal Clinic include:
➢ Application for divorce
➢ Fasakh and other related matters
➢ Kembali Taat
➢ Divorce pronunciation
➢ Matrimonial Property Claims
The Dock Brief Program is a program where pupils are placed at the Kuala Lumpur Criminal Magistrate Courts to provide legal services for people in need. Services include mitigation, bail application and other related advices. Currently this program covers 14 Magistrate courts in Jalan Duta where pupils assist both local and foreign clients. Through this program the pupils are trained to develop both advocacy and interview skills and also professionalism.
In ensuring that the pupils are equipped with adequate knowledge and skills, senior lawyers are invited to conduct trainings. In addition to the trainings given by senior lawyers, role-play and mock-trial are also conducted during the trainings to ensure the pupils have a better understanding of the Dock Brief program.
Community Legal Aid Clinic is a program where pupils (with the advice of experienced legal practitioners) render legal advice, support and assistance to the public in relation to issues involving marginalised communities. The service is currently provided at the Legal Aid Centre from Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm or over the telephone for initial enquiries. Service here also includes awareness and legal sensitization sessions relating to the communities’ rights on abuse, arrest, remand & bail. Community that we serve here are target clientele from these areas:
(a) sex workers;
(b) people affected and living with HIV/AIDS;
(c) drug addicts or reformed drug addicts;
(d) transgendered people; and
(e) lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and queer.
The LAC Prison Program caters for non-Malaysians above the age of 18. Under this program, pupils visit the prisons and interview the non-Malaysians inmates above the age of 18 and assist them with legal help that they need. The areas the KLLAC assist are remand, bail, mitigation, trial and appeal with the help of embassies and volunteer lawyers.
Non- Government Organizations (NGOs) and the public often join forces and take part in peaceful gatherings and assemblies. These gatherings and assemblies are held with the intention of voicing their concerns and opinions on various issues that affect the Nation.
Very often these peaceful gatherings and assemblies are met with unwarranted incidents of mass arrests and detention of members of the public. Most of those arrested and detained frequently do not have access to legal counsel and they are not aware of their rights and options, under the law.
In light of these circumstances the Bar Council Legal Aid Center (Kuala Lumpur) has set up and provided an ‘Urgent Arrest’ service to all those arrested and detained during these assemblies and gatherings. The ‘Urgent Arrest’ service is legal advice and assistance provided pro bono by lawyers who are trained and equipped with knowledge and skills in the area of arrest and detention.
The ‘Urgent Arrest’ team will communicate and negotiate with the authorities and provide legal advice, intervention and representation to those arrested and detained. They will also update and inform the families about the process of arrest and remand.
The Legal Awareness Program is one of the most significant programs run by the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre. It aims to provide understanding, awareness and it prepares pupils of what is expected of them during their 14 days legal aid duty. The program also introduces different clinics available at the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre to pupils during orientation sessions.
The program aims to expose pupils to human rights, justice and most importantly the importance of being committed towards aiding people.
The Legal Research and Reform Committee is established to look into the various legislations in Malaysia and to come up with suggestions for improvement if necessary. The Committee also attempts to present the law (in articles or other forms of writing) in a simplified manner so that it is easier for the public to understand.
The Kopi O’ Night series is organised by the LAC and set in an informal “potluck” style atmosphere. It is established to provide a platform for the speaker and the attendees to discuss interesting topics in a more relaxed atmosphere. Examples of topics discussed include the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and affordable housing in Malaysia. These sessions are opened to the public.
This committee was established to maintain and upload contents on the LAC website and also to source for useful materials to be disseminated to the public
The main role of this editorial committee is to compose articles and journals to be published in newspapers and LAC website. In addition to this, they also organize book drive to collect books to be given to all prisons in Malaysia. The first prisons this committee donated books to was Bentong Prison where almost 2000 books were donated. This committee also helped the Bentong Prison set up a library for the inmates to spend their free time at.
Students especially from legal background are welcomed to join this program where they will be exposed to the Centre’s activities via the ongoing programs. Among the programs included are:-
➢ Legal Aid Centre (“LAC”) Walk in Clinic (where clients are interviewed by pupils-in chambers and given advice)
➢ Dock Brief Program (where pupils-in-chambers will conduct mitigation and bail applications for those who have pleaded guilty)
➢ Prisons Program (where pupils-in-chambers will conduct interviews with prisoners)
➢ Joint Program with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) such as the All Women’s Action Society Malaysia (“AWAM”), Women’s Aid Organisation (“WAO”), Sisters in Islam (“SIS”), United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (ÜNHCR”), Tenaganita and Pink Triangle Foundation
In addition to the above Programs, students are also expected to be involved in the day-to-day management of LAC, to attend various trainings conducted by LAC and to conduct researches on a wide array of legal matters.
Attachment students have the option to engage in the Programme for a week, or for as long as up to two (2) months. Upon completion of the attachment program, each attachment student will be awarded with a certificate from the LAC.
NGO SERVICE PROGRAMS
In partnership with LAC, the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)/Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)/ Sister’s In Islam (SIS) clinic creates a platform for pupils to get an insight into issues affecting women and to be able to appreciate and act upon those issues. These organizations deal with various issues affecting women such as domestic violence, divorce proceedings, gender discrimination etc. While AWAM and WAO deal with issues affecting women of all religion, SIS focuses on issues affecting Muslim women and matters relating to Syariah law. As a whole, this programme does not only expose pupils to legal matters affecting women but also to various social issues affecting them.
Prior to commencement of duty, pupils will attend a training session where representatives from each NGO will brief them on their respective duties when they start their duty at their respective clinics.
Tenaganita in partnership with Kuala Lumpur and Selangor LAC carried out training programs for young lawyers on understanding the rights of migrant workers, including relevant laws and international instruments for rights protection. These lawyers are trained to give legal support for the affected workers and refugees, and as such affected workers and refugees receive increased legal support and representation at police stations and labour courts for migrants.
Tenaganita gives training in enhancing the skills of the young lawyers in documentation, negotiations, interviewing and interacting with the migrant workers. The training is made compulsory as many of the young lawyers tend to hold different views and perceptions of migrants or have not had any experience in dealing with migrant workers.
The lawyers are involved in all stages of a case from documentation of the case which also involves compilation of all evidences and relevant document to the case. They represent affected migrants at Labour offices, Immigration offices and Embassies. Moreover, they assist in drafting settlement agreements, letters, police reports and follow up reports on the cases that they have handled. Overall, they play a proactive role in negotiating with employers, agents and government officials till the case is resolved.
Apart from all the above mentioned, the young lawyers assist Tenaganita program officer in monitoring daily newspapers on the issues migration, health, human trafficking, refugees , policies and gender. They have also been involved in obtaining secondary data for different researches carried out by Tenaganita.
The KL Legal Aid Centre works together with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide support for refugees in Malaysia. UNHCR is responsible to register asylum seekers, determine their refugee status and eventually to find a host country to resettle the refugees.
During their legal aid duty in UNHCR the pupils attended to clients who walked into UNHCR office. The clients handled by the pupils would mostly come with problems such as marital problem, domestic violence, robbery, wrongful detention etc. The pupils will conduct interview with the clients, identify their problems, record and pass it to UNHCR office for further action. Some of the pupils were able to follow UNHCR officers to visit detention centres, conduct interview and seek release of refugees in detention centres.