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Legal Aid Council to increase fees paid to lawyers

Monday, August 20, 2012 | 12:12 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Legal Aid Council says it is now seeking to increase the fees paid to lawyers representing detainees under the legal aid programme.

This move comes in the wake of criticisms hurled at Jamaica for failure to provide legal aid for prisoners who have had their appeals dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

According to the executive director of the Legal Aid Council, Hugh Faulkner, the council’s attempts to get higher fees for legal aid lawyers have been thwarted by several changes in the Justice Ministry.

He said a submission for an increase was made recently and he hopes this will be signed quickly.

In the meantime the Legal Aid Council recently announced that it will seek to incorporate some of the recommendations made by the London-based Privy Council that should assist convicted people file their appeals to the country’s final court.

According to a CANA news report, the Privy Council in a ruling on Thursday, noted that prisoners in Jamaica tend not to benefit from legal aid as they filed their appeals.

Faulkner said that the ruling would be discussed at the body’s next meeting.

“I believe we have a duty to pay detailed attention to the ruling of the Privy Council, from time to time we have  had legislative changes that have emanated from Privy Council rulings,” he said, accepting the criticism from the British Law Lords.

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