The Public Defenders’ Division (PDD) in Ghana was officially launched on Wednesday, May 10 with the support of the United States Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Office and the Ghana Legal Aid Commission.
The PDD aims to provide legal assistance and criminal defense services to Ghanaians who cannot afford legal representation.
The creation of the PDD was initiated by Ghana’s Parliament in 2018 under the Ghana Legal Aid Commission. With the technical assistance of the U.S.
Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance & Training, the Legal Aid Commission has been able to increase representation in criminal cases by more than 40% in each of the last two years.
To further support the mission of the Ghana Legal Aid Commission, the United States recently provided 54 laptops funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
The launch of the PDD is an important step in ensuring access to justice for all Ghanaians, particularly those who are indigent and in need of legal defense in serious criminal cases.
The U.S. Government, through agencies like USAID, has been actively supporting access to justice initiatives in Ghana, including training government agency staff in the use of Ghana’s case tracking system and increasing public awareness of legal aid services.
With ongoing support from the U.S. Department of Justice, the PDD will continue to expand its representation of those who cannot afford private counsel, in line with the mandates of the 2018 Legal Aid Commission Act.