Birmingham Law Society bicentenary logo A WOneProfession oneregion onevoice

Volunteering opportunity for criminal law practitioners with the African prisons project in Kenya and Uganda

 Registration is closed for this event

Date: Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Time: start 18:00
Venue: No5 Chambers
Fees: FREE
Speaker: Linden Thomas

Birmingham Law Society is delighted to announce an exciting partnership with the African Prisons Project (APP), a charity that works with men, women and children living and working in prisons across East Africa with the objective of ensuring equitable access to justice, health and education.

APP’s Work
Prisoners in Kenya and Uganda are overwhelmingly drawn from poor and marginalised groups. Around 80% are unable to afford a lawyer and with little in the way of formal education, the majority of detainees are unable to defend themselves in the intimidating, chaotic environment of the courts. An estimated 60% of prisoners are held on remand and can remain so for long periods. Without the resources to retain private legal assistance, persons living in poverty are often forced to navigate the judicial system alone.

In order to address these challenges, APP provides study opportunities for selected prison staff and inmates to study law under the University of London International LLB programmes.  This scheme has beneficial effects far beyond the students who are selected for study. Having received training from APP staff, the law students work as paralegals within law clinics in the prisons to assist other inmates with their cases and appeals, and have successfully secured the release of other prisoners who cannot afford legal representation.

APP with funding from ROLE UK and Birmingham Law Society have teamed up to source four criminal law practitioners to go and work alongside the volunteer in the prisons and share their legal practice skills and experience with the paralegals. 

Volunteer Opportunity for Criminal Lawyers
Volunteers will not be expected to give legal advice to the prisoners.  Instead, they will:

·         work with the prisoners and prison staff working in the clinics by:
o   providing training on criminal procedure and evidence;
o   delivering skills training on topics such as client interviewing, advocacy, cross examination and drafting pleadings;
o   providing feedback on work done within the clinics;
·         work with the local APP employees who oversee the clinics to:
o   identify areas for improvement and development;
o   develop sustainable training and clinic practices;
o   share good practice;
·         share knowledge of law and practice as required and act as a positive role model.
·         support the improvement of quality monitoring and assurance systems and processes in provision of legal advice to the most vulnerable.

To comply with the terms of funding to APP from ROLE UK, volunteers will be required to support capacity building of the legal clinics and its staff. The volunteer will, therefore, be expected to provide a brief report at the end of their time, the report will be expected to cover what is working well, and areas of improvement.

You must be a qualified solicitor or barrister, specialising in criminal law to be eligible for this role. 

The preferred minimum period for volunteering would be three weeks, but this may be subject to negotiation for applicants unable to commit to that period of time.  Successful applicants may stay longer, subject to agreement with APP. Volunteers could follow their period of volunteering with a holiday at their own expense, should they wish.

Volunteers’ expenses will be paid in full, including air travel, accommodation, subsistence, visas, vaccinations and telecommunications.  Local travel and meals will also be paid for while volunteering in either Kenya or Uganda. 

APP is able fund up to four volunteers under this scheme, providing they volunteer before the end of March 2018.  However, if any candidates wish to fund themselves further volunteers could be accommodated.

Find Out More

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with APP, we will be hosting an introductory event at No5 Chambers at 6pm on Tuesday 18 July 2017.  There will be an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of Linden Thomas, Deputy Vice President of Birmingham Law Society, who spent time working with APP in Nairobi earlier this year. 

To apply to volunteer with APP please submit a CV and covering letter to Linden Thomas: by no later than 5PM on Friday July 2017, stating:

·         whether you are applying for a funded role, or will be self-funding; and
·         your availability between August 2017 and March 2018.

Successful applicants will be notified shortly after the deadline.

You can also find out more about APP via its website:

18th July 2017 6:00 PM   through   8:00 PM
No5 Chambers
Fountain Court
Steelhouse Lane
Birmingham, B4 6DR
United Kingdom

Show large map

Help spread the word

Please help us and let your friends, colleagues and followers know about our page: Volunteering opportunity for criminal law practitioners with the African prisons project in Kenya and Uganda