Prologue (Legal Aid Act 2054)

Legal Aid Act 2054 was enacted by the Parliament of Nepal during the reign of King Birendra in Poush 2054 B.S.

It was established to provide legal support to individuals who are unable to protect their legal rights due to financial and social reasons. The Act has aimed at providing equal justice for all according to the Principle of Rule of Law.

The Act has defined Legal Aid as legal assistance to the indigent person as well as counseling and other legal services in the courts or offices on behalf of the Indigent Person.

Attributes and Features

Eligibility for Legal Aid in Nepal

Only individuals with an annual income below a certain threshold are entitled to receive legal aid in Nepal. It has been provisioned through other rules that individuals with an Annual Income of less than Rs. 40, 000 are qualified for Legal Aid.

Repayment of Legal Aid

If the party receiving legal aid receives any property or financial gain as a consequence of the legal aid, they must reimburse or repay the concerned committee or the Aiders with a fair amount of Free.

However, if such repayment would result in inequality, then the committee can partially or fully waive the expenses.

Central Legal Aid Committee

A Central Legal Aid Committee has been provisioned in Nepal to make necessary arrangements to provide legal aid to indigent persons with a tenure of three years.

Members of the Central Legal Aid Committee

  1. Minister of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs as the Chairman
  2. Chairperson of Nepal Bar Council as Member
  3. President of Nepal Bar Association as a Member
  4. One Legal Expert nominated by the Central Committee as a Member
  5. The Secretary of Nepal Bar Association as Member Secretary.

Functions of Central Committee

  • To determine the programs and policies of Legal Aid,
  • To supervise and control the performance of District Committees and provide necessary directives to such committees,
  • To provide grants to District Committees for Legal Aid,
  • To make necessary arrangements for funding for Legal Aid,
  • To create a panel of lawyers to represent the Supreme Court on behalf of indigent people for providing Legal Aid,
  • To make arrangements to publish and distribute introductory booklets, pamphlets, and handouts relating to law and Legal Aid to aware the general public and make or cause to make arrangements for research for the same,
  • To constitute different committees as required and specify functions, duties, and powers of the committees for Legal Aid,
  • To appoint required staff for the Central Committee,
  • To delegate some authority out of the powers entrusted to the committee to any such committee or any staff of the central committee constituted under this Act,
  • To conduct other functions as prescribed to fulfill the objectives of this Act.

District Legal Aid Committee

Section 7 of the Legal Aid Act has additionally provisioned for the constitution of the District Legal Aid Committee to provide aid to the indigent person at the district level. Their tenure lasts for three years.

Member of District Committee

Government Attorney of Government Attorney Office of Appellate Court else District Government Advocate as Chairperson. Secretary of the Superior Bar Unit as a Member Secretary.

  1. President of the Superior Bar Unit as a Member
  2. Two Lawyers nominated from the District Committee as Member
  3. Secretary of the Superior Bar Unit as a Member Secretary.

Legal Aid Fund

Legal Aid fund has been established in Nepal through Section 8 of the Legal Aid Fund. The fund has access to the following money:

  1. Money received from the Government of Nepal as a grant.
  2. Money received as a grant, aid, or subscription from an individual, Association, or institution.
  3. Money received from other sources.

Staffing

The Central Committee has the authority of appointing a person as an Office Secretary and other relevant positions. The Person must hold a bachelor’s Degree in Law to be qualified for the position.

Epilogue

Legal Aid Act 2054 was a progressive and social justice-oriented act that guaranteed access to law and justice without the consideration of Financial and Social Status.

The Act has posited an eligibility Criteria of Yearly Income below NPR 40, 000, the regulation for repayment, and the establishment of Central and District Committee. It is equally applicable for Criminal Cases under Government Cases Act 2049 and Civil Cases as well.

It has provisions for a Central Committee, a District Committee, and a Legal Aid Fund.

Cite