A team of researchers at Qatar University’s (QU) College of Law received an Academic Research Grant from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) on a proposal for a national strategy to provide legal aid to the vulnerable populations in Qatari society.

The research is led by Prof Mohamed Yehia Mattar, the lead principal investigator; and Prof Abdullah Abdul Karem Abdullah, Dhoha Al Malki, Saber Gdiri, Abdelsalam Lachaal, principal investigators, supported by Attorney at Law and International Arbitrator Dr Thani Al Thani.

The research proposal is designed to provide for a new approach to legal aid, through a comprehensive law, which does not currently exist.

Qatar also does not have a national independent authority for the provision of legal aid. The proposal makes a recommendation to establish, for the first time, an authority that is entrusted with providing legal aid to the vulnerable.

The two main objectives of the proposal are motivated by comparative models and best practices that rely on international standards, particularly the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems and the United Nations Model Law on Access to Legal Aid, which Lead Principal Investigator Professor Mohamed Yehia Mattar was privileged to draft and write the various provisions of the law with commentaries explaining the different models of legal aid around the globe.

The proposal presents several elements that Qatar may like to consider in adopting a national strategy on legal aid. This includes engaging the new generation of students in providing legal aid through law clinics.

The proposal aims to identify the different issues that are relevant for the implementation of a comprehensive law on legal aid, focusing on social legislation, which the proposal defines as the laws that are designed to achieve social justice for members of the society, especially the vulnerable.

Dr Faisal M Al Hababi, associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies at QU’s College of Law, described this research grant as addressing issues that respond to the needs of the Qatari society and that complement the tireless efforts made by the various institutions in Qatar to ensure the welfare of its people.

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