20 May, 2024
2 mins read

Bar Council of Bhutan encourages Pro Bono legal aid for the vulnerable

The Bar Council of Bhutan is urging its members to provide free legal services, more often, to the marginalized and vulnerable population. This was discussed during the Bar Council’s first annual general meeting in Paro, today. Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck graced the opening of the three-day event. The United Nations Development Fund is supporting the meeting.

One of the primary objectives of the general meeting is to advocate for Bar Council members of the significance of pro bono services, especially for the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

According to the Bar Council’s vice president, pro bono legal advice and representation enhances access to justice for all.

“In these three days, we are bringing together the bar and bench, which is the core justice service provider to work on how to improve the accessibility to the justice system in the country. This is why the first annual general meeting of the Bar Council is being held,” said Rinzin Penjor, vice president of the Bar Council of Bhutan.

Legal representatives and firms that provided pro bono services to clients were recognized during the meeting. The Latin phrase “pro bono” refers to legal services provided to a client without fee.

Records show that the Bar Council received 85 cases requesting pro bono legal aid. After review by the National Legal Aid Centre, 16 of the total requests were provided pro bono legal aid.

The records date back to October 2022, when the Bhutan National Legal Aid Center was established. There are 300 attorneys registered with the Bar Council of Bhutan.

“Before the cases arrive at the Bar Council of Bhutan, it has to undergo scrutiny from the Bhutan National Legal Aid Center to see if they merit pro bono services. Only people who meet certain criteria are sent to the Bar

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States turn to high-tech kiosks to get legal help to those facing evictions

EVANSVILLE, Il. — On the second floor of this courthouse, what at first glance looks like an ATM is actually a legal lifeline. It is a legal aid kiosk, which helps users facing evictions to get the legal help they need.

“It’s going to either be in the courthouse or in their local library, and that’s where low-income people seek help,” said Scott Wylie, an attorney with ProBono Indiana. “It’s touch screen; it’s intuitive. They can look up all of the resources that are available and provide legal assistance in their eviction actions and other housing stability related issues. They can directly connect to a legal navigator who is trained to be able to provide them with guidance.”

When evictions began to rise in the state last year, pro bono legal services found many tenants in need of legal help.

“We found that over 50% of eviction clients, who were arriving to be removed from their apartment, had never heard of civil legal aid or rental assistance. Over 50%,” Wylie said.

According to data collected by The Eviction Lab, as of early November, the number of evictions in cities across the country is on the rise. When compared to their average numbers from previous years, in Las Vegas, it rose 60%; in Cleveland, it was up 61%; in Milwaukee, it climbed to 68% and in Tampa, it skyrocketed 121%.

“We have a large problem across the United States, and solutions like these help chip away at those inequities that poor people are confronted with,” Wylie said.

Several states are now making use of legal kiosks, including Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota.

In Indiana, $1 million in federal COVID relief funds paid for 120 kiosks to get deployed across the state, which connects users to Indiana Legal

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