The right to a fair hearing and legal representation of the indigents: a case study of Legal Aid Scheme in Kano State, Nigeria

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Kampala International University
The idea of legal aid in Nigeria was first conceived in 1961 with a Bill to establish the Legal Aid Act, which did not materialize as a result of the civil war. Legal Aid Association was formed by some lawyers with the purpose of providing legal aid to the poor, culminating in to the promulgation of the Legal Aid Decree no. 56 of 1976, which metamorphose in to the present Legal Aid Act 2011.In order to assess the state of legal aid scheme in Kano State with a view to ascertaining the right to fair hearing of the indigents given legal representation is safeguarded, the study analyses the provisions of the Legal Aid Act and that of the 1999 Constitution as amended in 2011 relating to fair hearing and also the constitutional safe guards to fair hearing. The doctrinal methodology was adopted to review both primary and secondary sources of information relating to the study. The study found that both rights to fair hearing and legal representation are constitutionally enshrined. The right to legal representation is limited to offences under the Penal Code Law as specified under the second schedule of the Legal Aid Act and therefore the two rights are not all encompassing, since legal representation does not cover all offences The amendment of the Constitution and the Legal Aid Act was recommended.
A thesis submitted to the school of law in partial fulfillment of the requirements, for the award of a Degree of master of laws in public international Law of Kampala international University
Nigeria, Kano State, Legal Representation, Human Rights, Legal Aid, Fair Hearing, Constitution