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Legal assistance rates adjusted; not yet what it should be

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In an interview with the media, Justice and Police Minister Kenneth Amoksi states that there will be an adjustment to the costs charged to attorneys who represent suspects. The Council of Ministers adopted a proposal on Wednesday. Elleson Fraenk, the dean of the Surinamese Bar Association (SOVA), and he have spoken about this issue.

When asked about the increased rates, Fraenk replies that lawyers are not happy with the amounts because of the rising inflation, “but it is a start. In order to prevent the issue of free legal assistance from continuing to be a concern, we are working on a plan that we will present the government. Access to legal aid is far too important an issue for that.”

The board of SOVA has asked the lawyers who provide free legal assistance to provide a breakdown of their costs so that this can be included in the model to be submitted. According to Fraenk, a number of factors must be taken into account when determining the rates, such as: driving time to the various police posts and other authorities, office costs, number of hearings, time for discussions with the suspects/clients and studying the case. “The lawyers are working on that now, but I appreciate that an increase has already been given as we continue to resolve this issue in a structural manner,” says Fraenk.

 

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