The Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA) is a Jordanian not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation was established in 2008 to combat the injustice affecting the poor and vulnerable. By offering free legal services to all those unable to afford a lawyer, JCLA seeks to be the bridge for victims to become survivors, for oppressed to become right-claimers, providing opportunity to those who lack it, in the effort to promote legal empowerment, enhance access to justice and uphold the principle of equality before the law.
Promoting legal empowerment and equal access to justice for all
The Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA) was established in 2008 to combat the injustice affecting the poor and vulnerable. By offering free legal services to all those unable to afford a lawyer, JCLA seeks to be the bridge for victims to become survivors, for oppressed to become right-claimers, providing opportunity to those who lack it, in the effort to promote legal empowerment, enhance access to justice and uphold the principle of equality before the law.
It started by contracting lawyers willing to provide legal aid. From one legal aid clinic in the capital, JCLA expanded its Legal Aid Unit, positioning its clinics within the premises of its partners located across the country. This allowed those fearing the stigma related to approaching a lawyer to access legal aid at their local NGO, whose primary work was not related to legal aid at all. Local partners soon began not only to host JCLA’s clinics, but to refer cases, contributing to creating change through their engagement.
However, providing legal consultations and representations was not enough. Soon, JCLA realized that a large segment of its beneficiaries encountered legal issues because they lacked the necessary knowledge of the law – both concerning crime prevention and right-claiming. For this reason, JCLA built its Awareness Unit, whose primary focus is to disseminate information on legal topics and where to seek help when needed. Through its now extensive network, JCLA capitalized on its partners’ outreach to identify at-risk groups in the community and provide them with legal awareness on topics deemed relevant by the targeted population. By educating the general public, JCLA fosters an environment where individuals can anticipate legal issues and learn how to deal with them in a timely manner.
Notwithstanding its increasing efforts at nationwide level, JCLA soon came to terms with the fact that the demand for legal services greatly surpassed its supply availability. One last piece of the puzzle was missing: fostering synergies with government actors, so that the provision of legal aid would become institutionalized. JCLA’s Advocacy Unit was created with the primary goal to ensure the establishment of a national legal aid system, but it soon grew to offer much more than that. The Advocacy Unit works closely with several government stakeholders to enhance the legal system overall, in its legislation and practices. It provides recommendations on new draft laws, advocates for legal amendments, and works with government bodies to increase their capacity.
In 2018 JCLA established a detention hotline with lawyers available 24/7 for arrested people at the pretrial stage, assisting over 900 people. In late 2020, JCLA launched a protection hotline for victims of violence and abuse. Community facilitators are in charge of the hotlines, providing support and guidance over the phone, and contacting lawyers when the case requires immediate action. Finally, JCLA adapted its service provision to the Covid-19 context, by offering online services to its beneficiaries.
JCLA is driven by these core values
We provide our services without discrimination. JCLA is an equal opportunity employer and recruits its team members on merit.
We strive to preserve the dignity of our beneficiaries.
We maintain transparency in everything we do unless otherwise protected by client confidentiality.
Our team works to the highest standard to provide quality services.
Our sole motivation is the realisation of JCLA’s mission. We recognise that structured and ongoing monitoring helps us achieve that mission.
Our Code of Professional Conduct requires all team members to provide quality and efficient services, and to act in the best interest of our beneficiaries.
We are a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. We deliver our services in collaboration with stakeholders that support our values and mission.
We deliver our services diligently and with the best interests of our beneficiaries in mind.
We recognise that confidentiality is our duty and that our respect of it enhances the confidence in our work.