A countrywide comprehensive paralegal refresher training is expected to start early next month, targeting more than two thousand paralegals who are currently providing legal aid services in different parts of the country.
As part of the preparation for this training, last week the government through the office of the Registrar of Legal Aid Providers in the Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, organised a five-day training of trainers (ToT), which attracted around 40 participants (legal experts and non-lawyers) from legal aid organisations operating in Tanzania.
The ToT training was held in Dodoma, facilitated by the Law School of Tanzania (LST) in collaboration with the Tanzania Law Society (TLS) and sponsored by the Legal Services Facility (LSF)—a non-profit and non-governmental organisation which provides grants and technical support to legal aid organisations involved in the implementation of the paralegal programme and related activities.
In an exclusive with this paper yesterday, Suleiman Pingoni, the facilitator of the ToT training, said the programme was meant to create a pool of qualified trainers who would conduct the envisaged training for existing paralegals throughout the country, starting from November and to end before December 31, this year.
He said the ToT programme will expose participants to the basic training requirements for the certification of paralegals as specified in the Legal Aid Act of 2017 and its regulations of 2018. The implementation of the legal aid legislation requires existing paralegals to undergo a re-fresher training in order to be recognised, officially certified, and thus allowed to provide legal aid services to the needy people in the country.
“In fact, the Legal Aid Act recognises paralegals who have been trained following a programme recognised by the government (MoCLA) and who are presently providing legal aid services. These paralegals will be issued with practicing certificates/identity cards after they went through a special additional training or re-fresher course as required by the law,” said Pingoni.
In that context, he said, the government through the Legal Aid Providers Registrar Office conducted the ToT programme, in order to get qualified trainers who would train paralegals and enable them acquire requisite knowledge and skills specified in the Legal Aid Act.
At the end of the day, paralegals who would be trained by the recruited TOTs would receive certificates, thus making it easier for them to apply for registration, and will later be issued with practicing certificates/identity cards.
“The main objective of all these processes is to get qualified and competent paralegals who operate in accordance with the standards and requirements of the Legal Aid Act and who provide high quality legal aid and paralegal services to the needy people across the country,” according to Pingoni.
Commenting, LSF director of programme, Scholastica Jullu described the comprehensive paralegal trainings as “a major step” towards broadening the scope of legal aid provision and expedites realisation of the national dream of enhancing access to justice for all in Tanzania.