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Part of the Justice Puzzle: Community-based Paralegal Programs and Sierra Leone’s Legal Aid Act

By: Carley Robb-Jackson

This paper, published in the Canadian Journal of Poverty Law, examines community-based paralegal programs in order to understand the connection between such programs, legal empowerment and access to justice. The paper presents an examination of community-based paralegal programs in Sierra Leone, particularly in the context of the government’s recent enactment of the Legal Aid Act in 2012. The paper emerges from field work conducted in Sierra Leone, during January and February 2012, which specifically explored gendered barriers to justice, the country’s formal and customary legal systems, the Gender Acts, and community-based paralegal programs.