Early access to counsel is a crucial indicator of effective representation. One of the vital buffers against torture, ill treatment, confessional statements and illegal detention is access to a well trained lawyer primarily at the time of arrest and first appearance in Courts. It has a direct vertical consequence on safeguarding the rights of an accused like securing a discharge or getting released on bail without remand to police or judicial custody. The presence of a lawyer also guides true application of judicial mind.
We undertake evidence based research in the form of micro surveys and often use it to strategically litigate in the courts to ensure access to counsel during first production. We work with the State and District Legal Services Authorities to develop monitoring and reporting mechanisms for legal aid lawyers in order to assess their performance. We also collect evidence on the functioning of various schemes of legal aid enacted for different stages of a trial to advocate with the SLSAs for necessary amendments and revision of the schemes. We train legal aid lawyers to robustly defend their clients at the stages of remand and bail in order to curb unnecessary pre-trial detention. We promote legal awareness amongst the criminal justice system, prisoners and masses.