Qatar: QU College of Law receives academic research grant

A team of researchers at Qatar University’s (QU) College of Law has received an academic research grant from Qatar National Research Fund, on a proposal for a national strategy to provide legal aid to the vulnerable populations in Qatari society.

The research is led by the lead principal investigator Prof Mohamed Yehia Mattar and principal investigators Prof Abdullah Abdul Karem Abdullah, Dhoha AlMalki, Saber Gdiri, Abdelsalam Lachaal and supported by attorney at law and international arbitrator, Dr Thani al-Thani.

The research proposal aims for a new approach to legal aid, through a comprehensive law, which does not currently exist.

Qatar also does not have a national independent authority for the provision of legal aid. The proposal makes a recommendation to establish, for the first time, an authority that is entrusted with providing legal aid to the vulnerable.
The main objectives of the proposal are motivated by comparative models and best practices that rely on international standards, particularly the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems, and the United Nations Model Law on Access to Legal Aid, which Prof Mattar was privileged to draft and write various provisions of the law with commentaries explaining the different models of legal aid around the globe.

It presents several elements that Qatar may like to consider in adopting a national strategy on legal aid. This includes engaging the new generation of students in providing legal aid through law clinics. The proposal aims to identify the different issues that are relevant for the implementation of a comprehensive law on legal aid, focusing on social legislation, which the proposal defines as the laws designed to achieve social justice for members of the society, especially the vulnerable.

The research will target a number of vulnerable populations in Qatar society including migrant workers, victims of human trafficking, persons with disabilities, women, children and the elderly. It is designed to enhance the legal aid in these six categories, which need the State intervention to support their effective and important role in the Qatari society.

QU’s College of Law dean Dr Talal Abdulla al-Emadi stated: “The proposal follows comparative models of other countries that established independent agencies to provide legal aid to the vulnerable populations.”