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Carter Center and JPC Expand Liberian Community Legal Advice Services Into Nine Counties

For Immediate Release
In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, +001 404-420-5124
In Monrovia: Chelsea Payne, +231 (0)6 452 022, Pewee Flomoku, +231 (0)6 516 232

Monrovia, Liberia…The Carter Center, in partnership with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), is expanding its Community Legal Advisor (CLA) program to provide legal support services in nine rural Liberian counties. With support from USAID and Humanity United, the services will be continued and expanded for the next two years. The program gives rural Liberians access to free community-based legal services and knowledge of their rights. Since 2007, more than 3,000 cases have been opened by community legal advisors.

"As Liberia's legal system slowly recovers from the war and seeks to gain the trust of its citizens, our community legal advisors fill a critical gap by providing rural citizens with access to their rights as guaranteed under Liberian law," said JPC Executive Director Councilor Augustine Toe.

The Carter Center and the JPC will add 10 new CLAs and two attorneys to the existing program to meet an increasing demand for information, mediation, and referral services. Currently, 34 community legal advisors serve rural citizens in eight of Liberia's 15 counties-Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Sinoe, Maryland, and Grand Kru. In 2011, the new CLAs will help strengthen the project in existing counties and expand work into Grand Bassa County.

"The community legal advisors play an important role in securing the peace by giving ordinary Liberians the belief that the justice system can work for them and not against them, as has been the case in the past," said Chelsea Payne, the Carter Center's country representative for Liberia.

The legal advisors come from the communities that they serve and receive extensive training to provide a variety of services. For example, they help women assert inheritance rights, mediate small civil disputes, conduct non-legal advocacy, and work with communities to help them have their rights recognized and enforced. They work closely with the formal and customary systems to help their clients find the most appropriate remedy. In addition, community legal advisors provide widespread civic education to make the rule of law relevant and accessible to ordinary Liberians and to help foster active citizenship.

Since 2006, The Carter Center has partnered with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and civil society organizations in a range of interlinked efforts to support access to justice, particularly among rural and marginalized populations. These activities include support for community legal advisors; civic education on the rule of law; training and support for indigenous leaders to strengthen their dispute resolution capacity and understanding of the law; and, training for officials in the formal justice sector.


The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production.

In Liberia, the Center currently works with the government and people on programs related to access to justice, access to information and mental health. More information can be found at:

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