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Free or affordable legal aid for women in Zimbabwe

Legal aid refers to services offered by lawyers through consultation, advice or representation in court or before administrative tribunals to persons unable to pay for a lawyer because of inadequate means or resources.

The aim of legal aid is to ensure that less fortunate people have access to justice on an equal basis to everyone else. Legal aid is necessary in any democratic state and failure to provide it would result in denial of access to justice. It is a form of social welfare which the State provides just like other forms of social welfare to needy people.

Duties of Law officers

  • Representing clients in Courts both civil and criminal cases in all relevant courts or any quasi-judicial tribunals;
  • Providing legal advice to clients on a daily basis on various legal aspect such as labor, matrimony, deceased estates, general civil matters as well as criminal matters;
  • Drafting court papers;
  • Conducting arbitration;
  • Conducting out of court settlements upon the instruction of clients;
  • Conducting human rights awareness campaigns.

How does the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs operate?

The Legal Aid Directorate (LAD) is a department in the Ministry of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs set up pursuant to the Legal Aid Act Chapter 7:16.

The Act "provides for the granting of legal aid to indigent persons; the establishment and functions of the Legal Aid Directorate and a Legal Aid Fund…."  LAD does not charge any legal fees to its clients, except that clients may be required to pay a small contribution to support the Legal Aid Fund.

Who can access legal aid?

Any person who has the relevant standing in any court or tribunal is able to access legal aid, if after the prescribed assessment is carried out, that person is unable to pay for a lawyer. Services are accessed at the nearest LAD office.

How to access Legal Aid?

  • A law officer will assess the nature of your case;
  • The law officer will then assess your means i.e. your income and your expenses;
  • If you qualify for assistance you may be asked to contribute a minimum fee towards the Legal Aid Fund;
  • In other cases you may not be required to contribute anything at all;
  • A law officer will be allocated to handle your case;
  • The law officer will decide the service to be given to you;
  • You will then be assisted until your case is closed.

Zimbabwe Women’s Lawyers Association

Provides free legal aid to women and children

Legal Resources Foundation

Services for rural and urban poor and disadvantaged women

Contact info

Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs 
New Government Complex
Corner Simon V. Muzenda & Samora Machel Avenue
6th Floor, Block C

Tel: +263 242 774620/7
Fax: 772999
Email: justice@justice.gov.zw
Website: www.justice.gov.zw