EU Gives Kenya Ksh945 Million for Poor Kenyans; How to Access

President William Ruto (Right) and European Union (EU) Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue at Ruto's then-Karen office on June 11, 2020.
President William Ruto (Right) and European Union (EU) Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue at Ruto's then-Karen office on June 11, 2020.

The European Union (EU) has approved a Ksh945 million (7.25 million euros) grant for the government to provide legal services to poor Kenyans.

The funds will be channelled through the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery (PLEAD) which will be a first of its kind in Sub-saharan Africa.

PLEAD is implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Kenya, National Commission for the Administration of Justice (NCAJ), Department of Justice (DoJ) and National Legal Aid Service (NLAS), supported by civil society and other judicial sector players.

"The general objective of PLEAD to enhance the rule of law as an effective means to address insecurity, conflicts, and socio-economic grievances in Kenya," the EU stated.

An Empty Court Room
An Empty Court Room

The expected results of the programme are; access to legal aid, particularly in the marginalized and high-risk counties is improved. 

In 2018, the EU offered Kenya Ksh 4.2 billion towards universal access to justice in Kenya through the PLEAD program. 

The National Legal Aid Service (NLAS) is an agency under the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.

Legal aid is a human rights issue, and our aim is to provide practical, affordable, and effective legal awareness and a legal aid service delivery scheme that increases access to justice for all.

For one to be eligible for a grant of legal aid, he /she has to make an application to the service by filling a form as prescribed under the Legal Aid (general) regulations 2020. 

Advocates who also wish to offer their service as legal aid providers are also expected to apply using the same process.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, the service may grant partial legal aid to an aided person on the condition that he/she makes a financial contribution to the fund.

NLAS will also charge fees for accreditation of various legal aid providers as per the fee schedule in the Legal Aid (general) regulations 2020.

The offices are located in five regions; Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru and Eldoret.

EU aid comes at a time when the Judiciary is grappling with a backlog of cases and also changing its leadership. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) nominated Justice Martha Koome as the country's first female Chief Justice in April 2021.

Koome, who will be vetted by the Parliament before being sworn in, will succeed Retired Justice David Maraga whose term expired in January 2021. 

During her interview, Justice Koome said she would use her 33-year experience as a Judiciary insider to transform the courts. Her priorities included reducing the backlog of cases by facilitating the appointment of additional judges and magistrates, operationalising the Judiciary Fund to promote its independence, promoting the use of technology and building additional courts.

An Image of a Court Hammer
An Image of a Court Hammer