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It is believed that peoples’ right to human rights in general and rights to due process, fairness, and right to speedy trial and hearing should not be dependent on an individual’s pocket power. On the other hand, justice has never been equal for the rich minority and the poor majority as well as vulnerable as they are unable to hire a lawyer for their case. What makes the problem bad to worse is that it is women, children, migrant returnees, internally displaced persons, prison inmates, HIV/AIDS victims, and veterans who are unable to seek and enforce their basic constitutional and human rights.
Jimma University School of Law Legal Aid Center (hereinafter 'JUSL-LAC') was established to nut out the gap between access to justice and indigence and vulnerability as its main objective among others. Although it is a long-aged experience in the developed world to help the poor and vulnerable by establishing such kind of centers, JUSL-LAC is the first of its kind in South, Southwest, and West Ethiopia, and is one of a handful number of pioneers in the nation.
In addition to the academic staff of Jimma University School of Law and the full-time employed lawyers for the centers outside of Jimma town, JUSL-LAC runs its daily business by utilizing clinical students and volunteers who study law at the University. Each volunteer and clinical student is expected to contribute four hours per week and academic staff members are expected to handle and supervise clients' cases.
Currently, JUSL-LAC is rendering legal services at eleven (11) centers in Jimma Zone namely, Jimma main office, Jimma Woreda Court, Jimma High Court, Jimma Zone prison administration, Agaro, Gera, Shabe, Dedo, Serbo , Omo Nada, and Setemma and is keen to keep up the already started good work. JUSL-LAC opened its 11th center at Setemma Woreda, in the year 2021.