Legal aid is a welfare provision for people who could otherwise not afford counsel from the legal system. Legal aid was originally established by the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949.
Legal aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law, the right to counsel and the right to a fair trial. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.”
The United Nations state that this principle is particularly important to minorities and to the poor.
Everyone must be treated equally under the law regardless of their race, gender, national origin, color, ethnicity, religion, disability, or other characteristics, without privilege, discrimination, or bias.
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