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Nigeria Community-Based Paralegal Training Manual

By: Global Rights

The purpose of this paralegal training manual is to provide basic instructions and skills for would–be community-based paralegals in Northern Nigeria to offer legal first aid to victims of human rights violations. We took into consideration that accessing justice goes beyond access to the courts and law enforcement, and concluded that community-based paralegals would be beneficial for individuals seeking answers for various legal issues that the police or courts could answer. The guide seeks to train holistic paralegals to assist indigent persons navigate everyday issues, assist when they are confronted by potential rights abuses from law enforcement agents and seek redress where their rights have been abused.

This manual does not cover every matter imaginable, but provides paralegals with the resources needed to open access to justice for indigent persons who might otherwise have not had access. It provides guidance for assisting clients through potential conflicts in their economic and social relationships that may result in rights violations; will help paralegal navigate through arrest and detention at the police station; and how to work with national and international human rights institutions. Our previous manuals on paralegal skills training provide specialized information on women’s rights and accessing the judiciary system, therefore this manual does not attempt to repeat the information contained in them.

Below is the Table of Contents for the Community-based Paralegal Training Manual:
Preface  4
PREAMBLE: WHAT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS?  6
CHAPTER ONE: UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF A PARALEGAL  12
Introduction  12
Who is a paralegal?  12
What do paralegals do?  12
Qualities of a good Paralegal  13
Essential skills for paralegal work  14
Interviewing skills  14
Counselling and mediation skills  15
Client referral  16
Letter writing 16
Record-keeping, reporting and documentation  16
CHAPTER TWO: SEEKING JUSTICE  18
Mediation in summary  20
Skills essential for mediation  21
The cycle of mediation  22
Phases of mediation  23
Navigating Criminal Cases  25
Dealing with Specific Issues  26
Types of sexual offences and redress available under the law  26
Rape and other sexual offences  27
Handling cases involving children  28
Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment  29
Extra-judicial killings  31
Dealing with extra-judicial killings:  32
CHAPTER THREE: ASSISTING ACCUSED PERSONS, ARRESTED PERSONS AND DETAINEES  34
Summons  34
Arrests/Detention  34
Nigeria’s constitutional provisions on arrest and detention  37
What the police must do upon an arrest  40
A paralegal’s guide to the police station 41
Bail  42
Arrest and detention: unlawful conditions  43
What to do when your client has been arrested and detained:  44
Remedies available to victims of unlawful arrest and detention 46
CHAPTER FOUR: WORKING WITH OTHERS  48
Relevant Human Rights Institutions/Organizations and Laws  48
The National Human Rights Commission  48
The Legal Aid Council of Nigeria  49
International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) 49
Nigerian Bar Association, Human Rights Committee/ Pro bono Committee  49
Network on Police Reform in Nigeria  50