Most of the law firms are operating on business terms. The rural communities are the ones highly affected by poverty and cannot afford fees for representation; therefore they end up being at a losing side given their ignorance whereas on the other hand thereare procedures full of technicalities very alien to their understanding.
Due to the greater demand for legal services in Tanzania particularly in the rural areas,WOLAT has seen the need to have trained people around the communities to assist in legal aid and legal awareness.Volunteers from village are trained as Para-legal to offer aid in legal clinics in villages. They are not lawyers by profession but are trained to deliver services which lawyers can deliver.
The use of paralegal has been very helpful because people in villages feel free to discuss their legal issues with a friendly volunteer from their own community rather than professional lawyer. The Para-Legal can mediate between parties and this helps in reducing a number of litigations in courts of law and bring peace and harmony in the community. They can give legal awareness/ education, manage and coordinate all aspects of a case and ensuring appropriate steps are taken timely, can also assist in drafting correspondences, calculating and calendaring legal deadlines, filing documents as required, analyzing and summarizing them.
Through the trained paralegals WOLAT, provides basic justice services to rural poor and equally urban communities by legal empowerment, and community mobilization techniques. Paralegals work proactively with and in their own communities. Paralegals identify and address areas of broad concern that include collective needs (e.g. access to basic services, environmental pollution, large-scale land grabs) and individual needs (e.g. probate disputes, employment disputes, conflicts over land, property or inheritance, domestic violence, child deliquesce and matrimonial ). Paralegals empower the masses within their communities through greater access to informal and institutional (formal) justice systems. When complex legal problems are involved, the services of professional lawyers will also be made available in the respective legal aid clinic to address issues more professionally.
WOLAT has paralegals in three different villages which the organization has earmarked the same and are in the process of being promoted into legal aid clinics. The process has some requirements and arrangements for their recognition.