Pro Bono work restores faith in the legal system by providing access to justice those who have financial and social constrains.
Article 18 of The Constitution of Nepal, 2015 (B.S. 2072) (the “Constitution”) provides equality before the law and equal protection of law as a fundamental right. Similarly, Article 20 (2) of the Constitution states that any person arrested shall have the right to consult a legal practitioner of his or her choice from the time of arrest and the advice given by the legal practitioner shall remain confidential. Thus, providing access to justice and principles of the Rule of law including supremacy of the law and equality before law are fundamental right, holding the utmost value, enshrined by the Constitution of Nepal.
Legal Aid is Nepal is also available through stipendiary lawyers in the Supreme Court, High Court and District by virtue of Rule 13 of Supreme Court Regulation, 2017 (B.S. 2074), Rule 157 of High Court Regulation, 2016 (B.S.2073) and Rule 101 of the District Court Regulation, 2018 (B.S. 2075), Rule 101 respectively.
The Legal Aid Act, 1997 (B.S. 2054) (the “Legal Aid Act”) was enacted with the purpose of the enforcing the right to access justice. According the Legal Aid Act only a person with below Nepalese Rupees Rs. 40,000/- (Amount in words Nepalese Rupees forty thousand only) annually is eligible for legal aid. Under the Legal Aid Act, Legal Aid Fund was established which includes money received from the Government, individual’s, association, institution or other sources as grants. In Practice, legal aid is still at a nascent stage in Nepal. According to the Legal Aid Act, there should be District Legal Aid Committee in each district however, in practice that is not the case. Similarly, if the concerned person receives economic gain after availing for Legal Aid then he/she is supposed to reimburse the expenses to the concerned committee but there is no clarity on the procedure for determination of the reimbursement amount.
To build on the enabling legal framework, it is important to engage in pro bono work in Nepal so as to impart fundamental right to access justice to the masses.
Pioneer has a culture of doing pro bono work which is a result of our passion and desire to serve. We hope to contribute to the community by sharing the knowledge and expertise we have developed over the years.
To this end, there are a number of sectors in which we have worked such as earthquake relief, gender based violence, licensing regime of radios.