Madurai District Legal Services Authority is set to establish legal aid clinics attached to the offices of the Madurai City Police Commissioner and Superintendent of Police.
According to Jacintha Martin, sub-judge and secretary of the Legal Services Authority, the two clinics will become functional in ten days.
“There are nine legal aid clinics functioning in the city and 20 in the entire Madurai district. This is the first time in Tamil Nadu that legal aid clinics are being established at the Commissioner and SP offices”, she told The Hindu.
The clinics will address family, property and other civil disputes through alternative dispute resolution such as pre-litigation conciliation and mediation, she said. A proposal to set up legal aid clinic in the district collectorate is yet to be finalised, Mrs Martin added.
“Space constraint is a major issue to set up a clinic in the Collector’s office. But the Collector has promised to resolve the issue and very soon we might set up a clinic there”, she said.
If established, it will be the second Collectorate in the State to have a legal aid clinic, after Trichy.
“Lawyers will be delegated in each of the legal aid clinics and in the wake of disputes; they will collect the details and forward them to the Legal Services Authority. Mediation will then be arranged for both the parties at the clinics”, she said.
A legal aid clinic is already functional at Government Rajaji Hospital.
An average of ten disputes are addressed every day at the Legal Services Authority located within the district court complex. This apart, at least 20 micro camps (where advocates meet litigants), macro camps (where advocates, sub-judges and law officers meet litigants) and mobile camps are held in the district every month.
Most of the disputes are resolved by means of mediation.
“For every 200 disputes we hear, only 40 cases are filed on an average. The others are settled through mediation and conciliation”, the sub-judge claimed.