This module is a resource for lecturers
This section provides suggestions for post-class assignments for the purpose of assessing student understanding of the Module. Suggestions for pre-class or in-class assignments are provided in the Exercises section.
1. Critically assess:
(a) the extent to which access to criminal legal aid in your country complies with the standards set by the UNPG (60 per cent); and
(b) how the provision of legal aid for children in your country may be improved (40 per cent).
2. The United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems (UNPG) place responsibility on States to ensure that legal aid is provided but are not prescriptive as to how this should be done. The various models for delivering criminal legal aid include: private lawyer schemes; public defender schemes; paralegal schemes; university law clinics; and specialist legal aid provider schemes. The Commentary to article 13 of the UNODC Model Law states that the "adoption of a certain legal aid model is dependent on a number of factors, including the number and availability of lawyers, demand for legal aid services, vulnerability of potential beneficiaries and available financial resources".
Having regard to the factors identified in the Commentary to article 13 of the UNODC Model Law, explain, giving reasons, which model or models are, or would be, most effective in delivering access to legal aid in your country.
3. Explain, giving reasons, the roles that police officers, prosecutors and judicial officers have in ensuring that the right of access to legal aid is effective in practice.
4. Principle 1 of the UNPG expressly states that the obligation on States to guarantee the right to legal aid is based on a recognition that "legal aid is an essential element of a functioning criminal justice system". Critically examine this rationale for requiring States to guarantee the right to legal aid for suspected and accused persons in criminal justice systems.
An appropriate time-limit should be set for assessed presentations (e.g. 20 minutes). Assessment may be based on: (1) a research log, setting out the process of conducting research for the presentation, identifying sources, etc. (20 per cent); (2) the style of the presentation, including the use of presentation aides (10 per cent); and (3) the content of the presentation (70 per cent). If appropriate resources are available, the presentation should be audio-visually recorded to facilitate feedback to the student, and quality assurance regarding the assessment process.
1. Assessing the need for criminal legal aid
Research, plan and make a presentation that covers the following issues:
(a) The factors that need to be considered in determining the need for criminal legal aid in your country.
(b) Taking into account the relevant factors that you have determined, the extent to which the need for criminal legal aid is provided for in your country.
(c) What needs to be done (e.g., new or revised laws and/or regulations, institutions, procedures, etc.) to improve access to criminal legal aid in your country.
2. Eligibility for legal aid
Research, plan and make a presentation that answers the following questions:
(a) In what circumstances do the UNPG provide that legal aid must be provided free of charge to a suspect or accused person? And in what circumstances do the UNPG provide that a suspect or accused person may be subjected to a means test?
(b) In your country, are there any circumstances in which a suspect or accused person is eligible for legal aid without being subject to a merits test? And in your country, are there any circumstances in which a suspect or accused person is eligible for legal aid without a means test.
(c) How long, in practice, does it take for a decision on eligibility for legal aid to be made?
(d) What proposals would you make that would improve eligibility for legal aid, and the determination of eligibility for legal aid, in your country?