AFELL Mediates Over 500 Cases; Says Its Intervention Has Helped Reduce Court Dockets
Monrovia – The Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) said it has resolved 545 cases through their mediation efforts.
Report by Willie N. Tokpa, [email protected]
AFELL president, Atty. Vivian D. Neal, said these cases were resolved to ease the burden of women, who faced difficulties in seeking legal redress.
Speaking over the weekend in Bentol, at the start of a two-day retreat and mediation training for female lawyers, Madam Neal noted that AFELL sees mediation as a best mean of resolving most of the legal crises.
These mediation efforts, according to her, were held between the period of 2016 to 2017. She described their action as a success.
According to her, based on their work, they have been granted UNDP/UNMIL joint project to mediate more cases and seek legal redress for women and children for a period of a year.
“Our members are encouraged to come to the office whenever they are available to assist with some of the mediations and legal representations at courts,” Atty. Neal urged.
Madam Neal also disclosed that the European Union (EU) is also helping AFELL seek speedy trial for women and youth in prison.
According to her, their advocacy, which is funded by the EU is focused on some counties, including Nimba, Bong and Lofa.
“We are also giving awareness on sexual and gender-based violence in those areas,” she intoned.
Commenting additionally on the issue of SGBV, the AFELL boss indicated that from January to September 2017 according to statistics, a total of 892 sexual and gender-based violence cases were reported.
The female lawyers’ president disclosed that 506 of the 892, were rape cases and 475 of them involved children.
Cautioning her fellow lawyers, Madam Neal said, “The public looks to us as one of the leading organizations in minimizing and bringing this unwholesome practice to an end. Our practice behooves us to help find remedy to those problems.”
She stated that the retreat intends to review and reassess their mandate in other to chart a new course for the future.
“This retreat is also aimed at reawakening the spirit, which gave rise to the founding of AFELL. It is evident to me that the mutual trust and friendship that existed at the founding of our organization is no longer as strong as it was. This is understandable since most of us have assumed new roles, which are demanding and leave little room for our commitment to the organization,” Atty. Neal told her fellow female lawyers.
Also speaking at the start of the retreat, former Chief Justice Francis Johnson reminded female lawmakers about their obligations and duties to serve the State.
Cllr. Johnson spoke against complacency and encouraged them to tap on the gains they have made over the years.
The former Chief Justice at the same time noted that they as female lawyers should also focus on mediations as one of the surest ways to help reduce the number of cases on the dockets at various courts.