What is M-Law Services
M-Law Services is a digital platform for access to legal services
provided by advocates registered on the system.
M-Law Services provides legal services through mobile platforms
towards bridging the huge gap in access for legal services to the
poor, marginalized and vulnerable Kenyans. The system has three
service platforms, namely:
- USSD system The USSD service works by allowing clients to
dial a particular code, a menu pops up with different functionalities.
- Mobile Application system The M-Law Application system works
by allowing customers to download the M-Law application from mobile
phone application stores over the internet. Once installed, the
application has a menu with different functionalities. Download the
Why M-Law Services?
Kenya is a multi-ethnic state with a total population is estimated at
41 million inhabitants as of 2011. In recognition of the role of
access to justice and legal services towards development, Kenya's
Vision 2030 acknowledges that economic growth alone is insufficient
for achieving a meaningful improvement in the quality of life of the
poor, marginalized and vulnerable people. The Vision identifies lack
of access to justice as having a direct link to poverty and,
accordingly, recognizes the need for access to justice as a pillar for
economic development and poverty reduction.
The Constitution of Kenya of 2010 also enshrines the right to equal
access to justice and the right to legal services. However, most
Kenyans who are poor, marginalized and or in remote or urban-slam
areas often are unaware of their rights and never realize or enjoy
these rights. These disenfranchised section of the society lack access
to basic legal services, have no idea what to do when they are
uprooted from their homes, land and businesses, and intimidated
through violence by the family, rich and influential in society.
Equally significant is the fact that youth and women who wish to start
businesses find it very difficult to do so due to high costs in
accessing legal services.
This is a very worrying trend that has a negative implication on the
general development of the country. Excluding a large percentage of
the population from the rule of law and legal services means they have
no equal chances to better their lives to climb out of poverty. As it
were, very few Kenyans who need legal services can afford to pay for
them, and most are ignorant of their legal rights. People who do not
know their legal rights can neither claim nor enforce those rights.
Millions are in need of legal services but are unable to afford the
specialized knowledge and skills of the legal professionals.
Imbalance In Demand and Supply of Legal Services
As of 1st January, 2017, Kenya had total of 8,236 active lawyers
registered with the Law Society of Kenya. Certainly, the number of
available legal service providers is not proportional to the demands
of the society. It is noteworthy that the Advocates (Remuneration)
Order 2014 provides that the least an advocate can charge for
provision of written legal opinion is Kshs. 35,000.00. Consequently,
legal services are largely available only to the economically rich and
or average members of society. Access to legal services and justice
is therefore clearly beyond the reach of millions of the poor,
marginalized and vulnerable Kenyans.
Free or subsidized access to legal advice is therefore a critical
instrument in the enhancement of access to justice, especially for the
poor, marginalized and vulnerable.
Through M-Law Services, advocates registered on this platform seeks to
address these concerns.