Expensive justice

Justice comes at a high price and generally too late, particularly if the victim happens to be poor. This is the general feeling among those who have suffered under the justice system in Nepal that is turning increasingly expensive. In fact, legal profession is fast becoming one of the most lucrative in the country. Ironically, lawyers pleading for criminal cases are the most expensive and often also the best, leaving the poor disputants no choice but to depend on the cheapest lot. Not to mention the procedural difficulties that stand in the way of poor people seeking justice. Therefore, those who cannot afford a hefty fee, more often than not, get a raw deal.

Lawyers, however, claim that they are not always expensive as the amount of their fee depends on the nature of case and the time consumed in the hearing. They also claim to have helped those who cannot afford to pay much. However, to those poor people have have had bitter experience of the high legal cost, the balance of justice seems to have been tilted on the side of those who can pay. Though there is no provision for a fixed legal fee even in international practice, justice system should be made accessible to all, particularly in Nepal where most people are poor. The lawyers, upholding their professional values, should also consider the plight of poor litigants. The state can also do something to make justice dispensation affordable for the poor. Otherwise, the legal principle of “Everybody is equal before the law” may get distorted.