Access to justice is every citizen’s constitutional right and should continue to be observed during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The COVID-19 pandemic and states’ responses to it are having an unprecedented effect on the functioning of justice systems globally. Courts are adjusting their operations, which can negatively impact the provision of timely and fair hearings, contribute to increased case backlogs, and lead to increased length of judicial and administrative proceedings.
Access to Justice has not been mention by the government as an essential service but with all the aspects of need for justice to be given to the vulnerable in the community, we all know that for the paralegals whom are in the grassroots to provide legal aid to the community, they are mostly affected by the lack of mobility and we all know access to justice does not work efficient when movement and physical interaction is hindered , this has led to the increase of more cases of GBV, police brutality, fraud, forceful evictions and all this has led to human rights violations and in other cases leading to death.
Hope is not lost for the community to access justice, paralegals through the network of other providers of legal aid have started to adopt new measures to make sure that legal aid is readily available to the needy. Paralegals are now part of the monitoring team for the all the measures that the government has set in order to make sure that the spread of the virus such as social relief and cushioning the public, government institutions e.g. police stations, hospitals etc.
Use of technology to sensitize the public on the issues related to Covid-19 and at the same time making sure that the public can also access justice even in the midst of the pandemic and also working with the government and religious institution on better ways of management response to Covid-19.