The African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice (ACE-AJ) is a continent-wide network of African civil society organizations working to promote access to justice, universal human rights, the rule of law and legal aid for marginalised and poor communities.
The objective of establishing an African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice was to develop a place that would serve as a memorial to the struggles for social justice of Africa’s people and carry forward the traditions of African and international practices and thought leadership in how best to craft a vision for a society that upholds human dignity and affords justice beyond the narrow legal conceptions to the most vulnerable sectors of society.
The Center was also intended to be internationalist in nature, embodying Africa’s pursuit of justice for all while also bringing lessons and experiences from efforts in other parts of the world that have kept the flag of legal empowerment, the rule of law and access to justice flying, with a specific bias and emphasis on indigent African knowledge about justice and redress.
To make this concept a reality, respected human rights advocates interested in empowering marginalized and underprivileged communities and advancing access to justice on the African continent got together to establish a center that would later become the “African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice” (ACE-AJ).
From informal meetings, these activists moved to formalize the concept by signing a Memorandum of understanding between the organisations called the “founding members” and the organisation that would host the secretariat of the Centre, incubating it for some years.
WHAT WE DO
- Promote a holistic approach to justice delivery and administration that ensures equitable, affordable and relevant access to justice for all.
- Ensure quality and innovative justice service delivery that meets the requirements of all users, especially the poor, marginalised and excluded.
- Encourage African states’ efforts to strengthen capacity for the improvement of justice delivery by promoting linkages, synergies, complementarity and collaboration between service providers of legal education, legal empowerment, legal assistance and legal aid.
- Encourage citizens and users of justice services to actively and effectively advocate for stronger collaboration and synergies between community justice initiatives, the judiciary, and the broader administration of justice processes.
- Promote the ethical values inherent in the activities of public service agents and other service providers to ensure transparent service delivery in the justice sector.
- Encourage the harmonisation of policies and procedures related to community justice and the broader public service and administration of justice among African States to promote regional and continental integration.
- Strengthen cooperation among African states, regional economic communities and the international community to improve the collaboration between community justice initiatives, the judiciary and the broader justice administration systems.
- Encourage the exchange of experiences and best practices to create a database of information within African states and at the continental level.