The Paralegal Advisory Services (PAS) seeks to contribute to improving access to justice for all in line with the government’s Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) priorities. The PAS project commenced in 2005 as a pilot is an innovative project that works with paralegals and social workers to provide legal aid services to poor and vulnerable persons in conflict with the law. PAS’ mandate is to provide legal advice and assistance to detainees in Uganda’s criminal justice system and linking the demand and supply sides of the justice system for effective and efficient delivery of justice.
PAS’ interventions address the challenges of congestion in detention facilities i.e. remand homes, police cells and prisons; overstay on remand (pre-trial detention) especially for non-capital cases; delays in the administration of justice and non-compliance with JLOS performance standards. All interventions are aimed at improving delivery of services and making the justice system more responsive to demands of those seeking justice and those in conflict with the law. It draws its lessons learnt from the last 10 years of PAS implementation. It seeks to consolidate its successes, and also extend its operations to enable it provide even better services to criminal justice defendants.
At the commencement of the programme, interventions were in four prisons in three (3) districts with eighteen (18) paralegals and six (6) social workers. It now covers 61% of the national prisons population in fifty eight (58) districts with representation in all the regions of the country. Currently, there are fifty seven (57) social workers and fifty (50) paralegals implementing PAS activities. The PAS programme sites include: Arua, Kitgum, Gulu, Lira, Fort Portal, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Jinja, Mbale, Busia Soroti, and Luzira, Agago (Patong), Nebbi, Nakasongola, Luweero, Mukono-(Kauga), Wakiso – (Kasangati and Kitala), Iganga, Tororo, Kumi, Kapchorwa and Kampala – managed by Uganda Prison Service and one site in Kampala-managed by Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF).