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Carter Center and JPC Expand Liberian Community Legal Advice Services Into Montserrado County

For Immediate Release
Feb. 10, 2011
Contact: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +001 404-420-5124; In Monrovia, Chelsea Payne +231 (0)886 452 022 or Pewee Flomoku +231 (0)886 516 232

Monrovia, Liberia…The Carter Center, in partnership with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), and working under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Justice, is expanding its Community Legal Advisor (CLA) program to provide legal support services in Montserrado County. With support from USAID and Humanity United, this expansion now will enable residents of Monrovia and surrounding communities to have access to free community-based legal services, access to alternative dispute resolution, and knowledge of their rights.

"Most Liberians continue to have limited access to justice. The community legal advisors in Montserrado County will be a resource to some of its poorest urban and rural communities. They will inform people of their rights, guide them to the appropriate authorities, or assist them in the resolution of their own disputes in a peaceful and constructive manner" said Carter Center Senior Legal Advisor Councilor Lemuel Reeves.

The Carter Center and the JPC will add 10 new CLAs to the existing program to meet an increasing demand for information, mediation, and referral services. JPC's CLA Montserrado offices will be based in three locations: Westpoint; Congotown, serving predominantly Peace Island; and rural Montserrado, in Todee. Currently, 34 community legal advisors serve rural citizens in six of Liberia's 15 counties – Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Grand Bassa. In 2012, the new JPC CLAs will expand work into Montserrado County and be supported by the Montserrado Regional Coordinator of the JPC, Carter Center attorneys, and program staff.

Since 2007, more than 4,750 cases have been opened by CLAs across Liberia.

"It is exciting that the impact of the JPC community legal advisors' work will now be felt in Monrovia. They will work in tandem with other justice sector actors, supporting the work of government and partners in improving the quality and accessibility of the justice system for all Liberians," said Father Kabbah, acting executive director of the JPC.

The legal advisors receive extensive training by The Carter Center in the basics of Liberian law, advocacy, and alternative dispute resolution, including mediation. CLAs, for example, may 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, CLAs 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. With support from USAID and Humanity United, these services are provided throughout seven counties of Liberia.

Watch a video of CLAs at work in Liberia >

Read more about the Carter Center's Access to Justice project in Liberia >


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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