Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) is a feature of Transparency International (TI), through which TI chapters provide free and confidential legal advice to witnesses and victims of corruption. There are currently over 100 ALACS operating in over 60 countries around the world.
NIA since its inception in 2011 has always been a port of call for many Jamaicans who have witnessed, or have been victims of corruption or who have suffered some form of injustice and often have had their cries for help ignored by various agencies and individuals.
However, in April 2016, NIA began its official ALAC and since then, has been better able to respond to the needs of persons through its offering of services similar to Transparency International’s (TI) ‘Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre’ (ALAC). Since the establishment of ALAC, NIA has received over three (300) complaints and has provided assistance and advice in these matters.
Generally, the ALAC seeks to mainly:
- Provide free and confidential Legal Advice
- Advocate for justice reform
What Does ALAC Do?
1. Free and Confidential Legal Advice and Assistance
ALAC offers a simple, credible and viable mechanism for citizens to pursue their corruption-related complaints and seeks to empower citizens in the fight against corruption by encouraging advocacy and “speaking-up” as an effective tool to combat corruption.
Through the work of ALAC, NIA seeks to provide advice and assistance to citizens in such a way as to equip them with the information and support necessary to provide solutions to their corruption related issues while simultaneously educating them as to what they can do, steps they can take and the entities and other resources which exist and have responsibility for addressing their grievances.
ALAC has on staff, attorneys-at-law who receive and handle the complaints and provide legal assistance and advice.
Reports and complaints made to ALAC are confidential and persons making reports can opt to remain anonymous. It must however be noted that for certain corruption complaints to progress, especially where they may require our referral of the complaint to a statutory or other authority with responsibility and powers in such matters, personal information may be required and without this it may be likely that these matters may not be able to be actioned by the relevant authority. This is only shared upon receipt of express permission from the person making the complainant.
The ALAC also plays a critical role in identifying corruption hotspots that demand reform or official action through the data collected from the reports received as it relates to the nature, forms, institutions and general geographical location of corruption. This data assists ALAC and by extension, NIA to engage in strategic advocacy to bring about systemic change in public policy and practice.
What ALAC Does Not Do
ALAC does not and will not:
- Share the personal information of any person who makes a report to us without the express permission of that person.
- Investigate complaints
- Prosecute or arrest persons. NIA is a non-governmental organisation which does not possess statutory powers.
- Provide advice and assistance to persons who are being represented by an attorney-at-law and especially where such matters are before the Courts.
- Issue documents to certify the existence or non-existence of corruption
- Launch campaigns against individuals or institutions
- Represent persons in Court.