East Africa 2009 - 2012


Program Description

Phase I of the Strengthening Access to Justice through Legal Sector Development Program in Eastern Africa (SAJCEA) is a two year program between the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and partners in four countries in Eastern Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia. SAJCEA is designed to strengthen the ability of justice system stakeholders to address issues related to access to justice and to increase collaboration among justice system stakeholders to improve access to justice. The Program is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and is supported by the voluntary contributions of legal professionals in Canada and Eastern Africa. The program is scheduled to end on July 30, 2012.

SAJCEA builds on the past cooperation between the CBA and the Kenya Law Society, the Tanganyika Law Society, the Uganda Law Society, the Zanzibar Law Society, the Ethiopian Bar Association and the East Africa Law Society. The CBA, with support from CIDA, has been working with its colleagues in the region for over ten years, providing technical support to improve the capacity of the legal profession and the functioning of the legal systems. Specifically the CBA has provided support for continuing legal education programs, law reform advocacy, governance of the legal profession, alternative dispute resolution and case management, among other things.

Program Structure

National Working Groups

National Working Groups (NWGs) will be established in each partner country in the region. The NWGs membership will include representatives of key justice stakeholders in each partner country (i.e. bar associations, judiciaries, ministries of justice, etc). The NWGs will be responsible for selecting critical access to justice issues to be addressed and for designing and implementing a national strategy for addressing these issues. The NWG strategies will be designed to support the broader country legal and judicial reform agendas. With the support of the SAJCEA Program Support Office, the NWGs will oversee the implementation of comparative research and consultations with stakeholder groups on the issue(s). As a result of the research and consultations, the NWGs will develop recommendations related to policy, legislation, institutional reform, training, awareness programs and other strategies for improving access to justice. 

Regional Advisory Group

A Regional Advisory Group (RAG) that will include representatives of key justice stakeholders (i.e. bar associations, judiciaries, ministries of justice, etc.) in the region will be established to guide and inform the work of the program in consultation with the National Working Groups. The RAG’s role will be to identify the common critical issues relating to access to justice that the program will address, provide ongoing advice and guidance on program activities (with reference to the country reform programmes), facilitate sharing and exchange between the National Working Groups and work closely with the SAJCEA Program Support Office on the development and organization of regional conferences and workshops. 

Canadian Advisory Committee

A Canadian Advisory Committee (CAC) with volunteer representatives from key stakeholders in the Canadian justice system (i.e. government representatives, judiciary, bar associations, law societies, etc.) will support the work of the National Working Groups and the Regional Advisory Group. The CAC members will work with stakeholders on an institution-to-institution and peer-to-peer basis to facilitate capacity building and model the collaborative approaches that are critical to effective and sustainable legal and judicial reform.   

Program Support Office

The SAJCEA Program Support Office (PSO) is located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Program Staff

Jennifer Khor
Regional Director

Andrea Redway
Program Director

The Canadian Bar Association
500-865 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1S 5S8
Tel: (613) 237-2925

Participating Organizations

Law Society of Kenya

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) was established by The Law Society of Kenya Act in 1963.  Its mandate is to advise and assist members of the legal profession, the government and the public in all matters relating to the law and administration of justice in Kenya. LSK is governed by an elected council from its membership of over 4,000 lawyers. All advocates in Kenya are required to be members of the LSK.

Uganda Law Society

The Uganda Law Society (ULS) was established by the Uganda Law Society Act in 1956. It has a membership of over 1,100 lawyers; all practicing advocates are required to be members. The mission of the ULS is to improve the professional standards of members of the legal profession and to promote human rights and the rule of law in Uganda by assisting the government and the judiciary in the administration and practice of law for the benefit of the people of Uganda.

Tanganyika Law Society

The Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) was established in 1955 by the Tanganyika Law Society Ordinance as the bar association for mainland Tanzania. All of the 900 members are qualified to practice as advocates before the courts in Tanzania mainland. The TLS is governed by an elected council. Its mission is to promote the rule of law by furthering the professional development of its members, to protect the integrity and ethical standards of the legal profession, defend the independence of the judiciary, uphold justice and human rights and influence legal reforms.

Zanzibar Law Society

The Zanzibar Law Society (ZLS) in an independent non-profit association which was registered under the Societies Act in 1998. Membership in the ZLS is mandatory for all advocates and is open to all members of the legal profession. ZLS currently has just over 100 members and is governed by an elected executive. The objectives of ZLS are to: maintain the honour and dignity of the profession of the law; promote the observance of the rule of law and independent administration of justice, the judiciary and the bar; promote the administration of justice; and establish and maintain relations and exchange between the members of the legal profession.

Ethiopian Bar Association

The Ethiopian Bar Association (EBA) is a non-partisan, non-profit association of lawyers registered under the Civil Code in 1966.The EBA currently has over 450 members, who are primarily private lawyers admitted to practice before the federal courts. The EBA’s goals are to: promote and uphold the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, good governance and human rights; ensure the dignity and independence of the legal profession; upgrade the skills of legal professionals; and provide pro bono legal aid.

East Africa Law Society

The East Africa Law Society (EALS) is a dual membership organization, bringing together over 7,000 individual lawyers from the region as well as six national bar associations: Law Society of Kenya; Tanganyika Law Society, Zanzibar Law Society, Uganda Law Society, Kigali Bar Association and Burundi Bar Association. EALS was formed in 1995 and is governed by an elected governing council. It is the largest organization professional membership organization in the region with a strong mandate and interest in: professional development and the practice of law; constitutionalism, democracy and good governance; the just rule of law; and the advancement, promotion and protection of all human rights of all people in East Africa and beyond.