Boosting capacity of Law Society of Zimbabwe

By Richard Lee | July 08th, 2011

The main goal of this project is to provide core funding to the Law Society of Zimbabwe to support self regulation, maintain the independence of the legal profession in Zimbabwe and influence policy decisions and institutional reforms of key institutions in the country and to protect and promote the rule of law and human rights defenders.

The project aims to provide core support to the Law Society of Zimbabwe to conduct its activities as the statutory representative body of the legal profession. These activities will focus on independence of the legal profession, protection of the rule of law and assistance to human rights defenders. The law society is one of the key human rights institutions in Zimbabwe that has worked tirelessly in defending important civil and political legal rights, alongside its sister organisation, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

OSISA will provide a grant to the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), which is a statutory body regulating the practice of law by registered legal practitioners in Zimbabwe. It is autonomous and is the body by which the legal profession in Zimbabwe self regulates. With an independent legal profession, the LSZ provides a basis for an independent judiciary in Zimbabwe and the LSZ is acutely aware of this important responsibility that it has to the country.

The project will run from July 2011 – June 2012 and will focus on three primary and inter-related goals:

(i) Capacity building of the Law Society and the legal profession in Zimbabwe, especially around capitalisation, governance, management and self regulation with key focus on retention of critical staff and purchasing capital equipment; establishing and maintenance of a systematic and sustained continuous legal education programme for both quality control and quality retention necessary to maintain independence of the legal profession and instilling human rights consciousness in the entire legal profession; developing through participatory workshops and appropriate consultancy best practices, ethics and codifying them for better professional self-policing as a hedge against potential interference from bodies external to the legal profession;

(ii) Securing lawyers as key human rights defenders on the frontline of defending other human rights activists and people whose causes may be unpopular with sections in authority.

(iii) Building regional and international networks of support for the Law Society in its stances in defence of the rule of law and constitutionalism.

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