In Jordan, economic opportunity still shapes men and women’s right to equal access to justice. Jordanian law grants the right to free legal assistance only to those facing a sentence of ten or more years of imprisonment. While courts are open to all, the difficulty of navigating the justice system often discourages individuals from undertaking the journey on their own. This deficient legal aid system leaves uncovered not only criminal cases punishable by lighter sentences (if we consider nine years imprisonment a light sentence), but also more common matters related to civil and family law that may bear critical consequences to anyone’s life. And as opportunity often works, it is not the wealthy who are significantly affected from this imbalance, but the wider segment of low-income men, women and children: for those unable to afford a lawyer, legal issues such as claiming alimony, obtaining custody rights, claiming unpaid wages or settling tenancy disputes are often likely to end in injustice.
Today, JCLA has evolved, integrating more figures and services for those in need of legal aid. Community Facilitators assist lawyers in legal clinics through paralegal work, making legal jargon and procedures more accessible for beneficiaries. They provide accompaniment and mediation and refer cases to other services providers when needed, following a holistic beneficiary-centered approach. Further, in 2018 JCLA established a detention hotline with lawyers available 24/7 for arrested people at the pretrial stage, assisting over 900 people. In late 2020, JCLA launched a protection hotline for victims of violence and abuse. Community facilitators are in charge of the hotlines, providing support and guidance over the phone, and contacting lawyers when the case requires immediate action. Finally, JCLA adapted its service provision to the Covid-19 context, by offering online services to its beneficiaries.
Strong of its grassroots experience, JCLA accompanies its beneficiaries through their legal journey, turning the law from a barrier into an instrument for the poor to exercise their rights. By promoting legal empowerment and enhancing access to justice, JCLA is a catalyst for change towards the achievement of a system where the opportunity to claim justice is equal for all.
■The service is only for cases of detention in security centers and police directorates – if legal assistance is needed in the courts, the public prosecutor or any official body, please visit the nearest legal clinic to you, to find out the addresses click here.
■The service is provided through a network of contracted lawyers based on a report by an acquaintance, relative, or referral authority via the hotline; Provide basic information about the detained person and where they are being held.
■The fees of the attorney on duty are paid by the Justice Center during the service within the phase of the security center. The center or the attorney does not charge the beneficiary any financial compensation for this service.
■The service procedures end with the end of the security center phase; Provided that the referral to the legal representation service is made if the eligibility criteria apply.
■The service will not be provided if there is a private lawyer for the detained person, and the service will not be completed if the eligibility criteria are not met.
Our Protection from Violence Hotline service is a lifeline for those experiencing distressing situations, providing immediate and confidential support to individuals facing threats of violence or abuse. Staffed by a team of highly trained professionals. We understand the urgency and sensitivity of situations involving violence, and our dedicated hotline operates 24/7, ensuring that help is available whenever it is required. Our commitment is to create a safe space for callers to share their experiences, receive expert advice on safety planning, and explore available legal options. Our Protection from Violence Hotline aims to empower survivors, helping them regain control over their lives and move towards a future free from harm.
Poor and vulnerable persons can visit any of JCLA’s legal clinics when in need of legal advice. If a person requires representation in court, they will need to meet JCLA’s eligibility criteria. These criteria, which are revised on an annual basis to ensure they continue to comply with JCLA’s mission, consist of three main checks, set out below. If all three checks are met, legal representation is provided. This assessment is applied indiscriminately (i.e. regardless of the person’s nationality, gender, legal status or other ground of discrimination) and aims to ensure JCLA provides legal representation to persons who are extremely vulnerable.
Can the person afford a private lawyer? (“Means” check)
If the person can afford a private lawyer, he or she will not be eligible for legal representation from JCLA. Our means check looks at a person’s income and assets in conjunction with their personal circumstances.
Is the nature of the legal problem compatible with JCLA’s mandate (“Suitability” check)?
JCLA provides legal representation for cases that ultimately affect the rights and freedoms of poor and vulnerable people. JCLA accepts suitable cases in the areas of civil, criminal and family (Sharia) law, with the exception of some, such as cases that bring financial benefits to the complainant.
Will engaging in legal representation help the person? (“Merit” check)?
For civil and family (Sharia) cases, JCLA also looks at whether the matter has reasonable prospects of succeeding, and whether legal representation is necessary to achieve a positive outcome. Given JCLA’s scarce resources, this test enables the organisation to better allocate its funding to cases where it will be able to provide effective assistance. JCLA will not provide representation to persons who have limited to no prospects of success in their case, where the person is found to be vexatious, or if the person is no longer engaging with the legal consultant.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss your eligibility for legal representation with JCLA.