Legal Aid Council, Nigeria (LAC) was established pursuant to the promulgation of Legal Aid Decree No. 56 of 1976 that became Legal Aid Act Cap L9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. This was repealed for the enabling and substantive Legal Aid Act 2011. The enabling law expanded the scope of the mandate of LAC to provide free legal assistance and representation, Legal advice and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to indigent Nigerians in conflict with the law as to enhance access to Justice in Nigeria.
Legal Aid Council Mandate
The Legal Aid Council (LAC) of Nigeria was established by the Legal Aid Decree No. 56 of 1976. The LAC Decree was then incorporated into section 42 (40)(b) of the 1979 Constitution. The Decree has gone through several amendments;
The Legal Aid (Amendment) Decree No. 10 of 1986 which included Civil matters for the first time in the jurisdiction of the Council.
The Legal Aid (Amendment) Decree No.22 of 1994 which included damages for breach of Fundamental Human Rights as guaranteed under the 1979 Constitution.
The Decree was later codified into the Legal Aid Council Act Cap L9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The Legal Aid Act Cap L9, 2004 LFN was recently replaced by the Legal Aid Act 2011 which expanded the Civil mandate of the Council and also expanded its Criminal jurisdiction to include Armed Robbery.