The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) has set up a legal office in all 25 municipal-provincial prisons to make it easier to maintain confidentiality between lawyers and clients in preparation for court proceedings.

Lim Chanlida, a lawyer and BAKC construction committee head, said the association spent about $150,000 to build a legal room in each prison. Legal rooms have so far been constructed and equipped in 19 prisons. Only six rooms have not been completed.

She said construction has been completed in Kampong Speu, Tbong Khmum, Takeo, Kampot, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kampong Chhnang, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Correctional Centre 1, the Police Judiciare (PJ) Correctional Centre, Preah Sihanouk, Kratie, Siem Reap, Stung Treng and Pailin provinces.

Other provinces such as Koh Kong, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Kandal, Pursat and Correctional Centre 2 remain 90 per cent finished but haven’t received equipment.

Chanlida said some prisons have places for lawyers to meet clients, but they are not perfect. In some prisons, there is no room for a lawyer to meet with a client and they do so under a tree which does not look proper.

The legal rooms are 5m by 5m and each room has air conditioning, a table and five chairs. Prison labour was used for construction.

The construction, she said, was scheduled to be completed by June, followed by a grand opening ceremony hosted by BAKC president Soun Visal.

BAKC began constructing the rooms in August 2018 after lawyers found it difficult to visit clients in prison.

Soeung Sen Karuna, a senior investigator at rights group Adhoc, previously told The Post that the legal room provided private consultation between a lawyer and client.

“I hope the construction of this legal room will benefit the client as well as the lawyer to be able to meet without interference or restrictions,” he said.