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As part of the Law Society's Pro Bono Week, a team of solicitors from the Huddersfield and Dewsbury Law Society’s unique Twinning Programme are visiting Uganda.
Sarah Ward, from Ramsdens Family team has blogged from Uganda...
"Arriving in Uganda can be something of a culture shock. From the smells of chickens roasting at the side of the road, to the mortality-challenging motorcyclists who have no regard for other road users but the most striking aspect is the juxtaposition of the opulent hotels with the poverty of those living in a ramshackle hut, with no basic services. It is amongst this backdrop that the lawyers of Uganda are seeking to uphold the rule of law and provide assistance to those in need.
Many lawyers in Uganda are sole practitioners, advising on everything from land disputes to wills to marriage breakdown. Facing issues of poverty, lack of time and corruption, they are trying to practise as ethically as possible to raise the respect of lawyers.
Legal aid clinics are essential for those who have no other access to legal services. Law firms cannot advertise so there is no information on the internet and information is often gleaned from family members. Accessible legal aid clinics provide accurate advice to those who need it. We visited the Uganda Law Society and the Legal Aid clinic which they run. Their clients are often vulnerable, uneducated and impoverished but this essential service is helping them when they need it most.
The training we are here to provide is some practical aspects of running a firm such as risk management, ethics, client care whilst also covering new issues for Ugandan Lawyers such as the newly compulsory mediation and the rise of divorce cases. The issues which the Ugandan Lawyers face are different from our own and there is much that we can learn from them too."
More blogs to follow this week as part of Pro Bono Week 2016 #wedoprobono.