Timap’s model responds directly to the distinct challenges presented by Sierra Leone’s justice system, primarily the shortage of practicing lawyers as well as a dualist legal structure that grants authority to customary local courts. As a result, TImap’s strategy revolves around community-based paralegals as the engine for local change.
Timap paralegals provide primary justice services to indigent Sierra Leoneans, including mediation, education on legal rights, advocacy before traditional and government authorities, and community organising. Recruited from local communities and trained by seasoned lawyers, they operate with the sanction of the governing chiefs and traditional leaders. Our paralegals’ efficacy stems from the confluence of their knowledge of formal law and government combined with their experience and expertise in working with the communities.
Timap’s paralegals are supported by a dynamic administrative staff in Freetown as well as a nationwide team of lawyers who act as trainers and mentors. In cases of severe injustice, these lawyers work in tandem with the paralegals to provide direct representation within the formal legal system.