Legal Services

Children Should Not Face Justice Alone’

Home to 9 million children, in the words of UNICEF  ‘Zambia is a country of young people’. The majority of the population is under the age of 18. At any given moment, 1,000 children in Zambia are being detained by law enforcement. Most children in conflict with the law in Zambia come from low-income households in high density peri-urban areas in Zambia. They cannot afford a lawyer and legal aid resources are very limited for every child to access. This has led to children representing themselves in court.

From police stations to prisons to court we provide free legal support and legal representation to children throughout their cases from start to resolution.

UP Zambia’s highly qualified attorneys, legal officers, and legal assistants, with years of experience in legal education, legal representation, child rights and child protection, offer support to children in Zambia and migrants.

Police Monitoring  

Before a child goes through the formal justice system after an arrest UP Zambia physically monitors police stations and police posts to ensure that all cases involving children are considered for diversion and if any have been detained, to facilitate police bond and parent tracing.

Diversion is the process of channelling a child in conflict with the law away from the formal justice system. 

Correctional Facilities  

If a child ends up in a correctional facility, UP Zambia is there to help. With funding from GIZ, we have established legal desks that help us to do not only police station monitoring, but also establish a presence in correctional facilities.  The legal desks provide children in conflict with the law, and other vulnerable groups like migrants, access to legal representation, legal advice, drafting and filing legal documents, making follow-ups and managing stagnant cases, inquiring on court dates to ensure speedy and fair trials as well as contacting family members to children.

Our legal services include drafting bail applications, submissions, and appeals on behalf of children. Our legal staff actively follow up on cases in subordinate courts, the High Court, and the Court of Appeal. We conduct awareness activities and legal education sessions on various topics within correctional facilities.

Additionally, we extend our commitment to legal education for clients in conflict with the law , offering simplified explanations of various legal topics. This helps clients comprehend their cases and enable them to navigate legal proceedings with clarity and understand legal terminology used in court.


Legal Representation  

When a case proceeds to court, UP Zambia gets involved by providing legal assistance, legal advice and legal education to the children in conflict with the law and their parents. Our legal team explains to the child and their parents, the court process and every stage of the case and advise them. Cases are then referred to staff attorneys for legal representation.

Our staff attorneys provide free legal representation to all children in conflict with the law who will go to trial after pleading not guilty. Where the child is charged with a serious offence and indicates that he or she wants to admit to the charge, our staff attorneys will also provide legal representation and mitigate on behalf of the child to ensure that the best outcome is secured for that child.

Child Justice Help-Line

UP Zambia runs a free Child Justice Helpline with nation-wide reach to provide legal assistance to children and their families if they have been detained by law enforcement and to respond to enquiries from the community about child justice issues. To access the help line please call 2046 for free on MTN and Zamtel networks.

Anti-Human Trafficking Services

Zambia has a human trafficking problem. Official numbers are significantly under-reported. It is estimated that thousands of people, including children, are trafficked in Zambia every year. This involves both domestic trafficking as well as cross border trafficking. Traffickers exploit children into cheap labour, domestic servitude,  forced street begging, and sex trafficking. Sometimes, these exploited children and other vulnerable groups like women, end up being prosecuted for being illegal immigrants and for crimes they are being trafficking for and forced into. Zambia also hosts over 80,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who are vulnerable to exploitation.

UP Zambia is committed to combating human trafficking and safeguarding the rights of victims, particularly vulnerable children being trafficked and forced to migrate. We provide a range of services to trafficking victims in conflict with the law, including screening migrants and trafficked individuals in detention facilities,  free legal representation, interpretation services, family tracing, connecting victims with embassies for consular services, psychosocial counselling, and emergency food and clothing.

We also partner with UNODC, the Commissioner of Refugees and UNHCR to work with the judiciary and front line officials to enhance knowledge and skills of those identifying and presiding over human trafficking cases. We have conducted awareness raising workshops as well as devised referral procedures for a fairer justice system for victims of human trafficking, migrants, and refugees, in particular children.

UP Zambia legal services are funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) through the Enabling Access to Justice, Civil Society Participation and Transparency (EnACT) programme and UNICEF under the Ufulu Project, Co funded by European Union (EU) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).