The department offers both Civil and Criminal legal aid and it is headed by Project Officer, Access to Justice and Legal Aid.
The Department engages in Client advisory or counseling, offers mediation services, free legal representation on civil matters, trains prisoners and clients on self-representation, engages in policy advocacy, research and Public Interest Litigation.
Criminal Public Defense
The Department further engages in offering free Criminal representation to prisoners, assists in Bail applications and bond for suspects and prisoners respectively, implements a plea bargain programs in Kayunga, educates prisoners on court processes and advocates for the rights of prisoners. Our focus is to comprehensively increase representation with the availability of funds.
Community Legal Education
The department as well engages with UCLF partners including the District Local Governments, Local Councils, the Uganda Police Force, Uganda Prisons Service and Churches to educate communities on their duties and obligations as Citizens, create awareness on Human Rights and encourage citizens to be law abiding. UCLF is soon commencing a program on sensitizing communities on COVID 19 Causes, Prevention, and treatment and engage in advocacy for access to Vaccines for everyone. Community sensitizations are coordinated by social Workers and Paralegals
Paralegal Advisory Services
The Department also supervises the provision of Paralegal Advisory Services Project. The Objective of the project is to contribute to the reduction in case backlog in justice delivery institutions. The Paralegals offer first legal aid to suspects in police custody and to prisoners through linking Suspects to their families, lawyers and Sureties. Educating suspects and prisoners on Court processes, following up on the police files for suspects, mediating cases with the purpose of channeling them from the criminal to civil Justice System, prepare suspects in police custody for court, and sensitize suspects on self-representation. Paralegal Services are of fered at CPS, Wandegeya Police Station, Kasese Police Station, Gulu Police Station, Buganda Road Court, and LDC Court.
Environmental Justice Program:
The department also oversees environmental Justice Response. UCLF engages in environmental awareness in schools, markets and communities pressing for the protection of the environment. UCLF further engage in the green growth strategy by providing tree seedlings for institutions and communities. The program as well encompasses environmental legal research,environmental policy advocacy, and litigation and engage in sustainable agriculture trainings for farmers.
Policy Research and Advocacy
With the aim of influencing policy and advancing for fair laws and policies in harmony with Christian principles. UCLF engages in timely advocacy, research and dissemination of information.
Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Program
The Juvenile Justice program offers representation to children in conflict with the law. This program ensures that Children in Naguru Remand Home and Reception receive counseling services and legal representation. The Child Protection Program is implemented in Gulu District with support from Baptist Mission Society UK.