Law Society sets up unit to assist the poor


MASERU – The Law Society of Lesotho has established an in-house legal aid unit to provide legal assistance and representation to disadvantaged and vulnerable populations of Lesotho. President of the Law Society of Lesotho, Advocate Lintle Tuke, made the announcement at a media briefing this week, stating that deficiencies have been identified in the country’s justice system, particularly regarding access to justice.

In response to these challenges, the Law Society has established a legal aid unit to address gaps in access to justice, advocate for human rights, and support victims of gender-based violence, among other critical areas.

Tuke said the legal aid unit will have specific guidelines determining eligibility for assistance, ensuring that support is provided to those who meet the criteria set by the Law Society.

“For instance, a standard income threshold will be established to determine eligibility for assistance. If a person’s income exceeds this threshold, they will not qualify for help, as it indicates they can afford to hire a private lawyer. Additionally, there will be no monthly fees required for those seeking assistance.” Tuke saiid several challenges hinder many Basotho from accessing justice in Lesotho.

“Despite the Constitution guaranteeing justice for all, many Basotho face significant barriers to legal representation due to financial constraints, a lack of awareness, and geographical isolation, as most services are centralised in Maseru,” he said.

He explained that the primary reason for establishing this legal aid unit is to support vulnerable groups, such as women, children, and those facing discrimination, who often remain marginalised within the justice system.

“We have resolved to step up, recognising that both the Constitution and the Law Society Act mandate us to do so. Although existing legal aid mechanisms are in place, there is still a significant gap that needs to be addressed, and this initiative aims to bridge that gap,” said Tuke. The Law Society is a statutory body established by the Law Society Act Number 11 of 1983.

“The Law Society operates independently and does not take orders from any external entities. It is a self-regulating body. To date, we have not received any assistance from Parliament, the Government, or donors. This means the assistance we offer Basotho may have limitations since our resources come from our member lawyers.

“However, we are committed to utilising whatever resources we have available. Donors are welcome to assist us, as the law does not prohibit us from accepting such help,” Tuke explained.

The Law Society of Lesotho will soon announce when people can start visiting their offices to seek help from the Legal Aid Unit.