What We Do
The Malawi Bail Project has been working with The Centre for Human Rights, Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) since January 2012 to establish an access to justice project, focusing on educating arrested persons on their right to bail using booklets, audio tapes and a 24/7 toll-free paralegal advice line. In addition the project aims to encourage co-operation between the courts, the police and the prison service through providing training and opportunity for discussion on the issues surrounding bail.
As the majority of people arrested in Malawi are unable to afford a private lawyer and there are currently only 22 legal aid lawyers, over 90% of people arrested will go through the court process without legal representation. This lack of legal representation has resulted in large numbers of people, who prima facie should be granted bail, being imprisoned for months or years before being brought back to court.
By informing those arrested of their right to bail, prior to their first court appearance, we hope to increase the amount of bail applications heard and granted and consequently reduce the large number of people unnecessarily held in pre-trial detention across Malawi.