Over 80 community-based youth volunteers from Kisumu and Vihiga Counties are set to graduate after successfully completing a 5-day paralegal training. The training organized by Crime Si Poa (CSP), Access to Justice Programme in partnership with Strathmore Law Clinic aimed at strengthening grassroots communities on legal matters and rule of law.
The training held in Kisumu County brought together legal minds from the Judicially of Kenya, Strathmore Legal Clinic, and Article 19 in empowering youth by equipping them with legal knowledge to serve better their communities.
During the training Hon. Justice Fred Ochieng’ Presiding Judge, Kisumu High Court praised the youth for participating in the paralegal training terming it a huge milestone towards achieving social transformation through access to justice.
“Paralegal training at the grassroots such as this is paramount towards the realization of the social justice vision of the Constitution. I urge young people attending these training to take them with utmost seriousness and ensure they use the knowledge and skills to serve their communities,” said Hon. Ochieng’
He further urged the youth to fully utilize skills gained to do probono legal services, especially to the most vulnerable members of society. He advised them not to take advantage of the training to extort money from innocent members of the society has witnessed before.
“These skills being learned here today are valuable and can be used to impart the communities you are leaving in. Do not use the skills in the wrong way to harm other community members. As paralegals during this election period advocate for peace and harmony,” He added.
Among the key learnings shared by the judge to the youth, is how to handle a case as a paralegal and ensure justice is served is through meeting deadlines for the case, learning the elements of the case, and ensuring evidence of the case is admissible.
According to Linah Akoth, Kisumu High Court Deputy Registrar paralegal trainees should grasp court procedures and make sure they know their way around the court and what to do as they help the communities they serve in Kisumu and Vihiga counties.
“Paralegals should enhance integrity by being honest and ethical when handling cases. There is also a need for paralegals to understand all institutions involved in the criminal justice system such as law enforcement offices and other stakeholders,” She added.
The curriculum used for training paralegals has been developed jointly by CSP and Strathmore University with great inputs from the paralegal training handbook.