Jabatan Bantuan Guaman Malaysia (Legal Aid Bureau) is an organisation which provides free legal aid to the general public in Malaysia. The Jabatan Bantuan Guaman Malaysia (JBG) is a governmental body under the Bahagian Hal Ehwal Undang-Undang, Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Legal Affair Division, Prime Minister’s Department) providing legal advice and help to deserving members of the public.
Like the Legal Aid Centre (LAC) run by the Malaysian Bar Council, the JBG provides FREE legal ADVICE and REPRESENTATION to individuals who pass their qualifying criteria. In addition, they also provide subsidised legal services, and if you do not qualify for this either, they still provide guidance.
CRIMINAL / SYARIAH / CIVIL
The JBG will provide legal advice on all aspects of the law. However, they only provide representation for certain types of cases.
The main distinction between the JBG and LAC is that the JBG will only represent clients in criminal cases where the client pleads guilty to his or her charge. The exceptions to this are in small criminal offence (Kesalahan kecil jenayah) and child criminal (Jenayah kanak-kanak) cases.
Cases may be referred to the LAC or their external panel of lawyers - but the cost is borne by the JBG so long as clients meet their qualifying criteria and their cases fall under their scope of assistance.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING TO A JBG BRANCH
You should carry the following documents when visiting a JBG branch:
- Identity Card
- Children’s identity cards / birth certificate (if applicable)
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Divorce certificate / papers (if applicable)
- Details of defendant (accused party) e.g., name, age, job, employer, etc.
- Any other supporting and/or relevant documents
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU WALK INTO A JBG?
- You will undergo a means test (see details below) and if successful, you will be required to pay a small registration fee of RM2.00 and fill up some forms at the premises.
- After the forms are submitted, an interview will be conducted to determine the full details of your case and actions that need to be taken thereon.
- You will be required to sign a statutory declaration confirming your annual income is within the qualifying criteria set by JBG, and have this certified by a Commissioner of Oaths.
- Bear in mind that any applicants providing false information will be persecuted.
There are two main categories an applicant may fall into. Failing which, you can apply to the Director of JBG for a special exemption.
- First category - Free Legal Aid
Applicants whose yearly income does not exceed RM25,000 (i.e. RM2,083 per month)
- Second category - Subsidised Legal Aid
Applicants whose yearly income is more than RM25,000 but does not exceed RM30,000 (i.e. RM2,500 per month).
- Special exemption
Applicants who do not qualify for the first or second category can apply for a special exemption to obtain legal aid with the approval from the ministry (Y.B. Menteri). This application is made through the Director of the JBG.
The official JBG website is - www.jbg.gov.my