The Midlands State University (MSU) has launched a diploma programme in paralegal studies, the first in the country.

Speaking during the launch of the programme, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary, Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi said the new diploma programme is in line with his ministry’s mission of promoting an effective and efficient justice delivery system in the country. 

The diploma programme is targeting candidates who are already employed in various organisations where they are offering legal aid but without the requisite formal qualification recognition which the new diploma is coming to address.

Locally, the concept of paralegals was introduced by law firms and they would work under the supervision and control of legal practitioners.

“It is therefore our hope as a ministry that the diploma programme will produce cadres who will improve access to justice for our citizens particularly women, children and other vulnerable and marginalised groups. Recognition of paralegalism as a profession will not only give paralegals legitimacy but it will also improve the quality and standard of their work,” said Cde Ziyambi.

MSU Vice Chancellor, Professor Victor Muzvidziwa said the diploma programme seeks to buttress the offerings of the Faculty of Law to improve skills and enhance the competencies of those who are already employed.

“This is a specialised programme for stakeholders in the justice delivery system of our country. We are therefore convinced that our contribution stands to add value to the human capital in Zimbabwe,” he said.   

The diploma programme which is fully funded by Transparency, Responsive, Accountability and Citizen Engagement, known as TRACE and its donor partners, is completed over three semesters.