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In Africa it is said that justice is open to all – and so is the Intercontinental Hotel. The hard reality is that most Africans do not know their legal rights and lack the means to obtain advice and representation. For example, in Uganda 90% of lawyers live in the capital Kampala, whilst 95% of the populace cannot afford to retain a private lawyer. Justice then becomes a luxury of the wealthy few. Hard won doctrines taken for granted by Australian lawyers such as the rule of law and judicial independence are still to be fought for. Injustice in the justice system is often the norm.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8 and 9)

In partnership with lawyers in the developing world CLEAR, Christian Lawyers for Justice, aims to provide human rights education and offer legal assistance to those suffering injustice… Want to be involved? PrayDoGoGive.

You can also find out about: CLEARThe Need (Stories)CLEAR VisionCLEAR Inspiration and contact CLEAR.

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News and Events from Facebook:

Wednesday 7th September 2016
CLEAR member, the Christian Legal Society Victoria are pleased to announce further details about the annual VCLS Meet the Profession Dinner 2016:

Date: Wednesday 7th September 2016
Time: 6pm (for a 6:30pm start)
Venue: CQ Functions, 113 Queen Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

There will be some valuable door prizes up for grabs including one or two clerkships for the law students.
Please mark the date in your diaries and we will be sending out booking details soon!
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In the lead up to the Australasian Christian Legal Convention, CLEAR will run a series featuring the Convention speakers. The first is Queensland Shadow Attorney General Ian Walker, who will speak on the topic: The Christian Parliamentary Representative – how much “Christian” and how much “Representative”?

Ian was born in Sydney, went to the Anglican Church Grammar School, and at university completed a bachelor of law and of arts. He then went on to practice as a solicitor in a prominent Qld law firm, Canaan & Petersen, and ultimately became the Australian leader of Government Practice. In his time as a lawyer, Ian was appointed by the Labour Party to chair the Ministerial advisory committee reviewing Queensland’s heritage legislation, which led to sweeping reform in 2007.

Ian has served at multiple levels of the Liberal National Party, including acting as Honorary legal advisor to the Liberal party in 2009-2010. His service was such that Ian was awarded the Federal Liberal Party’s distinguished service award in 2011. He was elected to the Mansfield electorate in 2012, during which Ian held the post of Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Reform, Assistant Minister for Planning Reform, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts. Despite the Liberal National Party losing the state elections in 2015, Ian retained his electoral seat in Mansfield, and has been appointed the Shadow Attorney-General and the Shadow Minister for Justice, Industrial Relations, and Arts.

Ian has held numerous Anglican church roles, including Chairman of the Australian Church Law Commission and Member of the national standing Committee. Ian and his wife Heather have been married over 30 years and have 2 adult children.

For further details on the Convention, which is to be held 29 September to 01 October 2016, and to register visit
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CLEAR member, the Christian Legal Society of Victoria are pleased to announce that the annual VCLS Meet the Profession Dinner 2016 will be held in the Melbourne CBD on Wednesday 7th September 2016. Please mark the date in your diaries. Further details will be sent out soon!
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The CLEAR Summer Justice Team are now home and adjusting to being back. Below is the final instalment of the team's last week in Nairobi, Kenya, confronting challenging conditions in prisons, educating at a local law school, dancing with school kids Kenyan style and visiting the Legal Aid Commission. We hope you have found the updates encouraging and an insight into the challenges and joys of providing access to justice for our partners in East Africa.

Women in Prison
On Wednesday morning we made the journey in a matatu (Kenyan minibus) to a woman's remand centre and prison.
We had prepared some questions for Joy in order to help develop her defence which the Kenyan Christian Law Fraternity (KCLF) team were planning to take on. A year ago Joy had been charged with Infanticide (killing her baby under 1 year). She had been on remand since and her case was only just about to come up in the courts. The KCLF team had met her a few weeks earlier at a prison visit and felt that her case was one they could help with.

On reaching the prison we were welcomed by the prison director and offered some tea and coffee. The atmosphere was entirely different to the men's remand prison the day before; a lot more hospitable and friendly.

We were first taken to the remand section where we met Paul again and after introductions by each of the team, he talked to the 200 or so women about how to deal with their cases and court hearings. He was very engaging but we noticed the same issues arising with the female remandees - missing or wrong charge sheets, significant periods of remand before a hearing and extortionate bail amounts. Like with the men yesterday, many of these women were suffering at the hands of an ineffective system. The women's voices saying 'justice delayed is justice denied' rang out loud and clear.

Perhaps one of the saddest elements of the woman's prison was the presence of a number of small children. We were told that it was not uncommon for women charged with capital offences to get themselves pregnant so as to receive a reduced sentence (life rather than death). Whilst none of us could imagine being in that position, the cold concrete walls were no place to have to raise a child and we were saddened by the lack of a real childhood that those little ones would have.

After the seminar, we were fortunate to be able to meet a number of the remandees in small groups. A few of the girls got to meet Joy and listen as she shared her story. They were struck by how differently she accounted for the events of the death of her child (only 10 days old when it suffered 1st degree burns that killed it) compared to the prosecution witness evidence on her file as well as her comments about the police telling her to change her statement. The feedback seemed to be that there was an awful lot of inconsistency in the evidence against her as well as a potential element of police wrongdoing.

Others of us heard from a young girl who was charged with murder for stabbing her fiancé 22 times, a mother accused of murdering her husband and a woman accused of robbery for holding goods she didn't know were stolen. As we talked about what we'd heard later the stories each had tragedy as a common theme. What was encouraging however was how much of an impact Paul and the KCLF team make to these women, offering regular one on one meetings to discuss defence strategies and, in some cases like Joy's, even proposing to advocate themselves.

We then moved to the section which holds the convicted women, each serving their sentences. We got to taste the fresh chapattis and donuts made by some of the prisoners and which are sold by the prison (good behaviour = kitchen jobs) and we met some other women who make keyrings and other trinkets to sell to the public as part of their rehabilitation programmes. This made the prison seem bearable and almost pleasant.

But then we went to one of the bedroom blocks and saw how 33 women are squeezed into a small, dark and musty space, sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor. We saw the mother and child block where women sleep with their young children and finally we met some of the women serving sentences for capital crimes. The death sentence remains in Kenya and although it has been some time since it was invoked, it is still possible for the government to do so. For these women, many of whom said they had exhausted their appeal options, the hopelessness was painfully evident.

As we left the prison and regained our freedom we remembered the women inside.

Legal Aid, Student Conference and our final weekend
With the prison visits still fresh in our mind we spent Thursday morning in the office discussing the criminal justice system with the KCLF team and also asking questions about Joy's case.

What had been clear from the last couple of days was the passion for justice shown by each of the KCLF team. We found it hard visiting the prisons for one day; they go in diligently week in and week out, meeting remandees, discussing their cases and providing hope in pretty hopeless circumstances.

Later we travelled to a school on the outskirts of Nairobi to present a seminar to some of the students. We were greeted with lovely African singing and smiling faces! A few of the team spoke to the students on their rights as children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, how and why to study well and also what the bible says about studying well.

We then moved to a much more rural area to visit a local children's home which takes in orphans and street children, offering them a safe place, a bed and education. In some situations they investigate and help runaway children be reconciled to families. It was an impressive place with a lot of love and some very talented dancers who put on a show for us before beckoning us all up to join in! There was some stiff competition for the best dancer in the team!

After many thank yous and farewells we boarded the bus again towards Nairobi for the evening KCLF fellowship meeting. It was great to meet some of the members and hear about what they do as local lawyers. The day was topped off by a dinner treat of takeaway pizza back at our guest house!

On Friday morning we again made the short journey to the KCLF offices from our guest house to meet up with the team. After a short testimonial time we travelled to the Legal Aid Commission in central Nairobi to hear about the work they do in improving access to justice. It was great to see the process that has been made since the commission's inception in 2007 as well as the passion with which the team talked to us about improving legal aid and advertising the services offered by the commission is a number of regions over Kenya. As part of the Government's 2030 vision, legal aid is a flagship project and our hope and prayer is for it to be a huge success.

After some small refreshments, we travelled to the School of Law to run the student conference for Kenyan law students. Following the same programme as in Rwanda (but squeezed into 3 hours rather than a whole day!) Adam spoke on the biblical principles for justice through the old and new testaments before a few of the rest of the team discussed their experiences for being a successful Christian law student and lawyer. Again, it was great to see engagement from the students and it signalled a really positive end to our time with KCLF in Kenya. That evening, we were each sent off to various KCLF members' houses for dinner and I think it's fair to say we were all amazingly spoilt by the hospitality and very tasty traditional food we were given! A great end to a great week.

Our last Saturday in East Africa demanded one last early morning in order for us to make the Kenyan Safari walk at 9am. We were taken around by a veteran of the centre and saw a multitude of animals including hyenas, monkeys, a rhino, lions, a leopard and cheetahs not to mention ostrich, buffalo and kudu! We then moved on to the David Sheldrake centre for orphaned elephants and 'ooh'd' and 'ahh'd' over the 19 baby elephants who trundled through the bush to be fed in front of us! Many of their mothers had been killed by poachers and some had been abandoned after falling into wells. They were very cute! Then we drove on a bit to a Giraffe sanctuary where we got up close and personal with some of the residents (some of the tourists more than others as they fed the giraffes with nuts held between their lips!!!)

A short break at the guest house was enjoyed before we got ready for dinner at Carnivore - a Nairobi restaurant famous (as you may have guessed!)...

On Sunday we were treated to a Church service with one of KCLF’s board members. It was such a privilege to come together as a team and sit under God’s word with many Kenyan brothers and sisters in Christ. The church was vibrant, worship was lively and the teaching from Ephesians 4 on marriage conflict resolution seemed apt given some of the cases we had heard earlier in the week. The hope found in Christ, the knowledge that only He can change hearts rang loudly in our minds.

Following a long lunch with the board member and his family we returned for our last justice study and team time. Following an impromptu decision to write encouragements for one another we packed and got ready to leave this wonderful continent and our lovely team.

Do catch up with team members you know and if you would like to know more about our CLEAR partners and the work of the LCF which supports them, how to support them and more, please contact
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For everyone praying for the Justice Team Mission in East Africa here is the most recent update on their travels, as they visit Kenyan courts and teach prisoners their basic rights in Kenyan prisons.

Last week was a busy week, and a few of the team were battling illness, so the update was delayed. However here's a taster of the start of last week:

With Dan and Adam gloating that they guessed the right arrival time estimate for the journey from Kampala to Nairobi (13.5 hours to be exact!) we arrived safely at 9.30pm on Sunday to begin our week in Kenya. The journey, though long had been surprisingly fine. It was wonderful to watch the landscape change as we passed through East African countryside.

We were met in the centre of Nairobi by the Kenyan Christian Lawyers'
Fellowship (KCLF) director who organised for us to get to our accommodation for the week, a lovely guest house which we are pleased to report again offers hot showers! This has been a particular blessing as the temperature here in Kenya is a lot cooler than we enjoyed in Rwanda and Uganda!

The following day (Monday) after breakfast we went to the KCLF offices where we met the rest of the team before dividing into 4 groups and hearing to the Kenyan High Court to observe one of the KCLF member advocates in action. The court itself was very busy as we arrived at 9am and we were told it holds
100 court rooms inside. Meeting him outside the court room, the advocate told us about his case, a private civil matter concerning land in which his client (the first wife) was arguing that the conveyances of various parcels of land was invalid and fraudulent as the second wife had consented despite it not being her land. There was a real risk, the lawyer argued, that if the application was refused then his aging, sickly client would be the victim of an injustice. The case was the last in the list and so we patiently sat through the 19 previous cases and hoped the judge would allow the application to appeal. Unfortunately (and as is often encountered at home by judiciary anxious not to make the wrong decision) the judge adjourned the decision to a later date. Nonetheless it was great to chat to the advocate after the hearing about his experiences as a Kenyan lawyer generally as well as the cases he takes on pro bono for KCLF.

After lunch at a local cafe we discussed the court sessions with the KCLF team and heard about the justice system here in Kenya as well as hearing the
*preliminary* plan for our time here which included prison visits, a school seminar and joining with the members of the KCLF for their monthly fellowship meeting. They had planned a lot for us to see and do!

On Tuesday we were able to visit a men's remand prison on the outskirts of Nairobi with a few of the KCLF team. It was a dreary and imposing place, full of grey cold concrete on which a few murals that had been painted, presumably by the inhabitants, offered a bit of colour. Once inside we met *Paul, an officer of the legal department in the Prison Headquarters of Kenya, also a member of KCLF. He goes into prisons around the country educating the remanders and those who have been convicted of their rights under the law and the particular sections of legislation to rely on.

One of our team, Dan gave a brilliant talk. Then Paul stood up and chatted to them. What was really interesting was how engaged they were when listening to him! They clearly appreciated him and us coming and helping them. He also taught them practical skills for appearing in court; to ask for their charge sheet and witness statements against them, to request lower bail amounts, to dress smartly and speak clearly. He and the KCLF team regularly work in the prison to give remandees and convicts the confidence to demand their legal rights in a system which does disadvantage the poor, needy and uneducated.

On our return to the office we discussed what we had seen and heard. We were also given our brief for the following day: to review some case documents of a woman named Joy* who was on remand in the Langata woman's prison and come up with a prosecution and defence arguments.

With the team safely back in the UK, and Esther soon to arrive back in Australia, I'm sure you are all looking forward to catching up in person.

If you are minded to pray, please do pray for the team:

- as they return home that there would be space to reflect on the time away and consider its impact;
- that those who were battling sickness would recover quickly and be fully well;
- that those still travelling have travelling mercies;
- that they would have quality time with family and friends this week.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.
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