LEGAL AID AND JUSTICE: PANACEA FOR POVERTY REDUCTION
IJAIYA, B. L.
Department of Private and Property Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
It is not enough to say that the lack income could lead to poverty. Not having access to food, decent shelter, safe water, health care, education and most especially justice could also lead to poverty. This study, thus examined as a policy the implications of people not having access to justice and the imperatives of government providing legal aid and justice through its courts to the most vulnerable in the society. Drawing from available literature, this study observed that where the rights of a man who though not ordinarily poor is infringed upon and such a man is unable to have access to the courts (the custodian of justice), where such rights can be remedied, it goes without saying that such a man may be subjected to losing valuables and thereby resulting into poverty. Thus, equal access to justice to all through legal aid therefore will go a long way in checking and ameliorating abject poverty which has become endemic in most of the developing countries. From this and other observations, this study therefore recommended among others that: government ensures that all citizens irrespective of political, social and economic status have equal access to justice; the poor on their own should endeavour to avail themselves with all the available opportunities provided by the government to see that their rights when infringed are remedied through legal aid; courts are commended to relax their rules that are always characterised with rigidity so as to give equal access to justice to all without any technicality or rigidity; and people of high integrity and other good qualities should be considered in the appointment of judges.
Key Words: Legal Aid, Justice, Poverty, Poverty Reduction, Nigeria