Our Niche

Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) Trust exists as a national civil society organization to promote access to justice among vulnerable, indigent and marginalized groups, with a view to establish legal inclusivity as espoused in the Constitution of Kenya, yet responsive to Sustainable Development goal sixteen (16). Twenty- eight years (28) and counting, LRF has provided leadership on growing legal inclusivity culminating into statutory supported legal aid, democratic security governance and human rights integration in the actualization of the Bill of Rights, in particular socio-economic and cultural rights as stated at Article 43 of the Constitution. This has been possible through various approaches, but largely the import of Paralegals in criminal justice system. This coupled with evidence driven interventions, besides human rights education, practical advocacy, research, policy dialogue and adoption as well as proliferating of innovative legal instruments has made LRF a brand for inclusivity and a trusted voice of the less privileged. We have presence in the East Africa region, through contacts with various legal empowerment centres in Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda, similarly as a treasurer to the East Africa Society of Civil Organizations (EASCOF) headquartered in Arusha (Tanzania). Accordingly, the institution has grown from a small organization of ten (10) staff members running street law projects to a leading organization in Para legalism, legal aid provision and building of resilience amongst communities facing increased form of vulnerabilities

To achieve her programmatic focus, LRF’s work is anchored under four (4) thematic areas, namely: Administration of Justice, Community Organization and effective governance, Knowledge development and learning, and Institutional development and capacity enhancement. The thematic areas are implemented in the following Counties: Turkana; Kajiado; Narok; Kericho; Kakamega; Kisumu; Kisii; Meru; Embu; Kitui; Garissa; Isiolo; Nairobi; Kiambu; Nakuru; Baringo; Kwale; Kilifi; Mombasa; Mandera; and Wajir. Programmatic interventions are not restricted to the above-mentioned Counties as specific activities are delivered on a national wide scale.

LRF envisions a Just and Equitable Society and is currently implementing 2019-2023 Strategic Plan dubbed ‘deepening impact & knowledge sharing’

The mission is to be a premier bridge to justice institution seek to harness collaborative benefits off strategic partnerships to gain holistic participatory interventions towards justice, equity  and resilience in communities.

To remain relevant and attractive, LRF has been responsive to emerging trends and needs and hence has continuously rebuilt her strategy. This is demonstrated by the position, influence and clout LRF holds at the NCAJ[1]. LRF represents Civil Society Organizations at the NCAJ and has presence at both the council and technical levels. Equally, LRF has chaired and participated in various taskforces and working groups of the NCAJ which include: Bail and Bond Implementation Committee (Current Member); Taskforce on Sentencing Policy (past member); Taskforce on Alternative Justice Systems (current member); NCAJ special taskforce on children matters (current member); Sexual Offences  Act Special Taskforce (current member); National Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms (NCCJR)[2] where LRF sits at both the secretariat and sub - committee[3] levels.

LRF host the secretariat of Paralegal Society of Kenya (PSK) and is also a substantive Board member of the National Legal Aid Service Board. Regionally, LRF is a member and the treasurer of the Governing Council of the East African Civil Society Organisation’s Forum (EACSOF) as well as a member of the International Detention Committee.

Our work

LRF Trust is strategic partner in the criminal justice system(s) on many fronts as legal advisor, practical advocate and community organizer by way of paralegal driven dialogue. LRF sits on NCAJ to represent access to justice actors, where issues on how to improve and institute legal inclusion are pursued, improvised and monitored

LRF Trust has piloted the court counsel desk, tested its functionality as a legal advisory, referral mechanisms and court procedural learning platform especially dedicated to accused persons and their relatives. This has reduced mistrial that emerges from non-representation in court and inadequate knowledge of prosecution and fair trial, common among the indigent

LRF sit on the Prison Reform Working Group amongst other state and non - state actors. In this committee, we have been able to push for the mainstreaming of the UNSMR, including training of prison officers in Meru, Kericho, Isiolo, Kisumu, Embu, Kitui and Baringo.

Further, to this initiative, LRF has been able to give reviews of the Prison Act (Cap 90, of the laws of Kenya), particularly proposals on how to integrate human rights provisions as espoused in the constitution’s Bill of Rights. Equally important, is the result of a Constitutional Petition number 574 of 2012, Public Interest Litigation case that led to the prisoners being allowed to vote, a feat that was realized in 2017 general elections. Further is our current work that seeks to strengthen the resilience of correctional officers on matters of violent extremism and radicalization, which seems to be proliferating in prison facilities.

LRF’s capacity to denote and promote the challenges faced by the marginalized, vulnerable and largely excluded groups has directed our focus to the plight faced by mentally ill offenders in the criminal justice system. In this context we are reviewing the institutional incapacity to respond to unique mental disabilities likely present among offenders and adjudicators.

To ring fense the work LRF do with Judiciary, Prisons, and Probation and after care services, LRF also partner with National Police Service (NPS)on several and progressive interventions to improve policing. In particular LRF has begun conversations on democratic policing, for which we have held security governance stakeholders’ forum to demystify the concept of democratic policing in connection to the retrogressive practice of arrests without warrant.

Experience in P/CVE

LRF traces its experience on P/CVE to 2013 when it partnered with the US Department of State to conduct a baseline survey in Prisons titled ‘Perceptions of extremism/illegal groupings in Kenya’. The survey was instrumental in expanding LRF’s knowledge horizons on matters radicalization to violence and extremism. In 2018, LRF joined Public Defender Network under the auspices of Public International Law & Order Policy Group to provide legal aid (advice, assistance, and representation) to persons charged with terrorism related activities. At the time of termination of the project in 2019 following DUSIT Terrorism, the network of lawyers and paralegals had reached close to 100 clients. In 2019, LRF was funded by GCERF through Accelerated Funding Mechanism to implement a project geared towards diminishing opportunities for radicalization to violence in Penal Institutions. The project was implemented at the advent and amidst COVID-19 and was instrumental in: a) Trained three hundred (300) prison officers across nine (9) Penal Institutions on manifestation of violence extremism, radicalization red flags, and mitigation strategies put in place by the government. b) Sensitized 4000 prisoners across nine (9) Penal Institution in two (2) counties on factors that predispose places of detention to radicalization to violence, and mitigation measures available. c) In conjunction with Nairobi County CVE Engagement Forum; developed Nairobi County CAP which was launched amidst pomp and colour in October 2020 d) For the first time since its launch in 2016, LRF conducted an audit of National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism (NSCVE). The findings were embraced by the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC), and conversations are ongoing on adoption of the same by the National Assembly in a bid to design counter terrorism strategies that are scientifically informed. d) For the first time in Kenya, a Penal Strategy to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism in Penal was developed, validated, launched and adopted by both the Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) and the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). The strategy was largely informed by past experiences, international best practices, information gathered from Prisoners and Prison Officers engagement, and contextual understanding of the criminal justice system in Kenya. e) Critically, the project opened avenues to hitherto conversations that were spoken in hushed tones. Conversations on P/CVE were discussed openly in mainstream radio stations in both Nairobi and Kisumu Counties, besides publication of critically acclaimed articles in leading platforms like the Nairobi Law Monthly On account of the good work done on PCVE in prisons; LRF was officially sought after by the Global Centre for Cooperative Security in March 2021 to join the National Steering Committee comprised of personnel from Kenya Prison Service (KPS), Kenya Prison Staff Training College (KPSTC), and National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). LRF will provide advice on the best approaches to be employed towards sensitizing prison officers across the republic on the ills of violent extremism and modalities of preventing radicalization to violence within prison walls.

[1] NCAJ is a the highest policy making body with regard to administration of justice and it is established by the Judicial Service Act No.1 of 2011 with its mandate being to ensure a coordinated, efficient, effective and consultative approach in the administration of justice and reform of the justice system.

[2]The National Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms (NCCJR) was launched on 15th January 2018 vide Gazette Notice number 5857 to spearhead comprehensive review and reforms of  Kenya’s criminal justice system. The committee’s mandate is borrowed from the findings and recommendation of the Criminal Justice System in Kenya: An Audit

[3] Sub – committees – police and policing, court and court processes, prosecution, and correctional and aftercare