Established in 2008, the Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA) is a Jordanian not-for-profit NGO registered with the Jordanian Societies Registry. It is committed to empowering and enabling all poor and vulnerable people in Jordan with a view to realising a society where everyone has equal access to the justice system. JCLA does this by implementing legal awareness programmes, providing legal consultations, mediation and representation services in the areas of civil, criminal and family (including Sharia) law, and advocating for reform to the justice system. JCLA strives to develop a national sustainable legal aid model tailored to local needs.
By informing people in Jordan about their rights and obligations under the law, JCLA aims to prevent conflict caused by lack of, or wrong, information about their legal position. JCLA provides access to legal assistance for those unable to afford a private lawyer, encouraging people to settle disputes in a non-violent manner and preferably outside court.
JCLA’s assistance helps refugees register their births and marriages, allowing them to access government services. It prevents people from being pushed into statelessness or deportation to conflict zones by challenging government decisions about their nationality or residency status. With JCLA’s help, victims of domestic violence are able to escape the circle of violence, and migrant workers trapped in the net of scrupulous employers and recruitment agents. JCLA’s intervention in criminal matters, from the police station to the court, aims to avoid people being accused and convicted of a crime they did not commit, or experiencing an unfair trial.
Since 2008, JCLA has grown from one legal aid clinic in Amman to become the largest legal aid provider in Jordan, providing legal aid services at clinics located across all 12 governorates. Each month, JCLA assists approximately 375 beneficiaries through legal consultations, provides legal representation to approximately 150 beneficiaries across 200 cases, and reaches approximately 3,600 vulnerable people through its awareness sessions.
JCLA’s service delivery model is based on a principle of collaboration. Most of JCLA’s legal clinics are hosted by partner organisations located in poor and vulnerable communities. For example, three of JCLA’s clinics are located in UNRWA Women’s Program Centres located in Palestinian refugee camps. These partnerships ensure that JCLA can provide access to its services in a safe and local environment. JCLA also has over 60 referral partnerships with government agencies (including the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Development, and Public Security Directorate) and NGOs (including the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program, Ruwwad and Tkiyet Um Ali).