This module is a resource for lecturers
The case studies in this section are designed to provide students with an opportunity to evaluate access to legal aid in practice, and to constructively assess strategies for improving access to legal aid in different jurisdictions. Discussion questions relating to these case studies are presented in the Exercises section.
Pre-Class Case Study
A few weeks ago, you were visiting a friend in another part of town. About five minutes after you left your friend's house, you were stopped in the street by a police officer, arrested and taken to a police station. The police told you that you had been identified by a woman who told them that you had assaulted her about 30 minutes before you were stopped by the police officer. At that time, you had been with your friend, but when you tried to explain this to the police, they were not interested. You are now being prosecuted for assault and have to attend court next week.
The questions related to this pre-class case study are mentioned in the Exercises section.
In-Class Case Study of "Sami"
Sami is a girl aged 14 years. She grew up in a poor district of the capital city, but when she was 13 she was snatched from the street by a criminal gang and taken to a town in another part of the country. She does not speak the language used in that part of the country and does not really have a very clear idea of where it is in relation to the city that she came from. Several girls and boys are kept by the gang, and every day they are sent out to steal. They are often watched by a member of the gang, and severely punished if they are seen trying to talk to anyone, or seen to go outside of the area of the town that they are told to operate in. Sami has been beaten on several occasions and is often threatened with violence by gang members. Sometimes, she is made to have sex with men.
One day she was caught by the person she tried to steal from, who called the police. She was taken to the police station.
The questions related to this in-class case study are mentioned in the Exercises section.
Additional Case Study
A 25-year-old man is arrested and detained by police officers on suspicion that he has stolen a car. He was identified by a neighbour of the owner of the car, who says he went to the same school as him, and who reported it to the police. The police take the man to the local police station, where they intend to interrogate him about the suspected offence.
Having regard to the law and practice in your jurisdiction:
(1) Assess whether -
(a) he has a right to a lawyer and, if so, at what point in the process that right applies
(b) he is likely, in practice, to have a lawyer and, if so, at what point in the process, and
(c) he is eligible for the lawyer to be paid under legal aid whilst he is held at the police station.
(2) Assume that the man is prosecuted for theft of the car. Assess whether -
(a) he has a right to a lawyer for the trial
(b) he is likely, in practice, to have a lawyer, and
(c) he is eligible for the lawyer to be paid under legal aid for the court proceedings.
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