2020 Volume 1 Article ID: 12
Legal aid is important to safeguard the right to a fair trial, provide equal access to the justice system and promote the rule of law. It is stated in the Global Report on Legal Aid by United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime that as the right to legal aid becomes increasingly recognized in national laws, it is also essential to consider how this right is guaranteed in practice, what legal aid mechanism is needed, and how it will interface with the justice system. Hence, this article explores state-sponsored legal aid in the criminal justice system of Myanmar to investigate these conditions. The study promotes the understanding of the development effort for legal aid in Myanmar, reveals that the right to legal aid is guaranteed under the Legal Aid Law and therefore, the newly enacted legal aid system can interface with the criminal justice system throughout the process from pre-trial to trial stages in criminal cases. However, Myanmar is a country where the implementation of legal aid services is still in its commencing phase. Thus, further actions are needed to ensure the quality of its implementation through enhancing current legal aid mechanisms, updating the existing laws, and establishing a quality assurance mechanism.