Ascension : Lay Advocates Needed
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Internet Editor) 17.12.2009 (Article Archived on 31.12.2009)
These are all descriptions from existing Lay Advocates and we need at least two more for Ascension Island to make sure that this vital service is available to all. Lay Advocates are unique to St Helena and Ascension Island and fill the gap for residents who need legal help or representation at court.
“Stimulating” “Demanding” “Enjoyable” “Worthwhile” “Involving” “Challenging” “Most of all helping people”
These are all descriptions from existing Lay Advocates and we need at least two more for Ascension Island to make sure that this vital service is available to all. Lay Advocates are unique to St Helena and Ascension Island and fill the gap for residents who need legal help or representation at court. They are supported by the Public Solicitor and receive a monthly payment, and travelling and other expenses.
The essential characteristics for a Lay Advocate are absolute integrity, determination to protect and forward clients’ interests and the courage to stand up for individuals, often in difficult circumstances. A Lay Advocate also needs the ability to put forward their client’s case not only in the police station but also in the courts of Ascension. He or she has to be able to keep confidential all things relating to their clients’ affairs. Finally it is essential that a Lay Advocate has the authority and wisdom to be able to look behind situations where their clients are often hurt or feel angry and to seek the best way forward hopefully resolving disputes before they ever come to court. This may involve negotiating and meeting with other Lay Advocates, Government Officials and the Attorney General and Crown Counsel.
If all that sounds daunting remember that the Public Solicitor is there as a support for and to ensure that all Lay Advocates have the training and information to fulfil this important role.
The recent changes in Ascension Island mean that we are losing two valued and experienced Lay Advocates and we very urgently need to find some more.
If you think you could be a Lay Advocate or would like some more information please contact Neil Davidson, the Public Solicitor for Ascension and St Helena on Telephone St Helena 3008, by Fax St Helena 3007 or email to email@example.com and you will be supplied with more information and an application form. If you know of anyone else who you think could make a good Lay Advocate please twist their arm to make contact!