UNILAK

Prof. Christopher Behan delivers an insightful Lecture on Access to Justice

Prof. Christopher Behan delivers an insightful Lecture on Access to Justice

Prof. Behan, a visiting professor in the Faculty of Law at UNILAK, delivered a compelling public
lecture on June 28 th, 2024, which drew a diverse audience comprising law students and legal
practitioners. The lecture centered on the critical theme of “Access to Justice and the Potential
Impact of Court-Appointed Counsel for Indigent Defendants in African Courts.”
In his comprehensive lecture, Prof. Behan emphasized the crucial role that access to justice
plays in the overall framework of human rights. He highlighted the challenges faced by indigent
defendants in African courts, who often struggle to secure adequate legal representation due
to financial constraints. Prof. Behan argued that court-appointed counsel could serve as a vital
mechanism to bridge this gap, ensuring that all defendants receive a fair trial regardless of their
economic status.
The lecture saw a lively discussion among attendees, who posed various questions and shared
their perspectives on the topic. Students were particularly interested in the practical
implementation of court-appointed counsel systems and their effectiveness in different African
countries. Legal practitioners, on the other hand, raised concerns about the sustainability and
funding of such programs, given the limited resources in many jurisdictions.
Prof. Behan addressed these questions with a blend of scholarly insight and practical wisdom.
He drew on examples from jurisdictions where court-appointed counsel systems have been
successfully implemented, offering a roadmap for similar initiatives in Africa. He also
underscored the importance of political will and community support in driving these reforms
forward.
Mr. Turyahebwa Robert, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, expressed his gratitude to Prof. Behan
for sharing his expertise and inspiring both students and professionals to advocate for greater
access to justice.
“Prof. Behan’s lecture has opened our eyes to the critical issues facing our legal system and has
provided us with valuable insights on how to address them,” Mr. Turyahebwa remarked.
As the event concluded, attendees left with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper
understanding of the complexities surrounding access to justice in African courts.