SUBSTANCE	
Fair	trial	/	right	to	have	one’s	cause	heard	–	article	7	
Right	to	legal	aid	

A state has an obligation to provide legal aid to accused persons at all stages of proceedings
in cases which qualify for legal aid or at least inform the accused person of the right to legal
aid (Wilfred Onyango Nganyi & 9 others v Tanzania v The United Republic of Tanzania,
application 006/2013, judgment, 18 March 2016, para 181). It behoves on the respondent
state to inform the applicant of the right to legal aid and for the judicial authorities of the state
to ensure that accused persons are represented by counsel especially where serious charges
are involved (Onyango para 168). The state has the obligation to provide legal aid even if the
accused does not make an application for it, as soon as it is evident that the accused is not
represented by a lawyer (Onyango paras 181-184; Alex Thomas v United Republic of
Tanzania, application 005/2013, judgment, 20 November 2015 para 123; Abubakari
Mohamed v The United Republic of Tanzania, Merits, Application 007/2013, 3 June 2016
para 138 & 139). Failure to inform an accused person of the right to have access to a lawyer
and subsequently providing the accused with a lawyer affects the ability of the accused to
effectively defend himself and constitutes a violation of article 7(1)(c) of the Charter
(Abubakari Mohamed v The United Republic of Tanzania, Merits, Application 007/2013, 3
June 2016 paras 121 & 122).
	

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