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MDTF Activities > Report on the retreat in Ecka 27/09 – 29/09/ 2013

Report on the retreat in Ecka 27/09 – 29/09/ 2013

The retreat took place in Ecka, 27.09. to 29.09 2013. The following working group members participated:

  1. Ljiljana Blagojević, Assistant Minister for the Judiciary
  2. Čedomir Backović, Assistant Minister for the European Integration andInternational Projects
  3. Darja Koturovic, Consultant for Access to Justice, secretary of the WG
  4. Blažo Nedić, attorney, Bar Association of Belgrade
  5. Biljana Bjeletić attorney, Bar Association of Vojvodina
  6. Dragoljub Đorđević attorney, President of the Bar Association of Serbia
  7. Dragi Krstić attorney, Bar Association of Nis
  8. Jasmina Pavlović attorney, Bar Association of Serbia
  9. Doc dr Saša Gajin, professor, University of Law, Union
  10. Mirjana Grujičić, judge, Basic court Belgrade
  11. Srbijanka Gajić, sector for normative affairs, MOJPA
  12. Smilja Rakulj, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
  13. Mirjana Bajagić, director, Free legal aid office, Novi Sad
  14. Jasna Bujuklić, advisor, MOJPA
  15. Marijana Šarac, judge, misdemeanor court
  16. Nebojša Đuričić, judge, Basic court Belgrade
  17. Biljana Mladenović, Team for Social Inclusion and Reduction of Poverty, Government of Serbia
In addition, the World Bank cost analysis team participated at the meeting. They presented the cost analysis methods, the data collected so far, as well as the types of data necessary for the analysis. The members of the cost analysis team also had separate meetings with the WG members regarding the types of proceedings, the time required for types of cases, etc. This retreat was conceptualized as the final decision-making meeting, i.e. it was agreed that all the remaining issues need to be decided upon and the Draft should be finalized. The work was constructive, considering that the representatives of different stakeholder groups agreed upon the major issues:
 
The scope of the Law:
The FLA Law refers solely to the provision of free legal aid financed from the state budget, however it shall regulate general criteria for the provision of free legal aid (funded otherwise) and the single register of all providers, due to the public interest.

Beneficiaries:
The WG has agreed that the beneficiaries will be the individuals listed in the records of the Ministry of Work and Social Policy as beneficiaries of different social aid services. In addition, a cumulative condition is provided for those who have certain human right breached. This will be regulated in detail upon receiving the precise data from the Ministry.

Providers:
  • The WG agreement has been reached:
  • 1 primary
  • Centers for Social Work
  • Free legal aid services at the municipality
  • Attorneys (at the municipality/own office/legal clinic, etc.)
  • NGOs
  • Legal clinics
  • Notaries

2 secondary
  1. Attorneys
  2. Municipal Free legal aid services– the majority has an employed lawyerr with a bar exam–the Centers for social work will inform the applicant to initialy attempt to resolve a legal issue in such service and then use an attorney
  3. NGOs- using an attorney for representation before court
  4. Legal clinics – only for drafting motions, under the supervision of the attorney cooperating with the legal clinic
  5. unions
  6. mediators
  7. notaries
Eligible proceedings:
Civil; administrative (for the 2nd instance, will be considered secondary legal aid) ; enforcement; misdemeanor; mediation and notary cases.
 
Criminal proceedings remain to be determined, due to the CPC-FLA relationship and ECHR standards.
 
Free legal aid will be provided throughout the course of the proceeding including appeals and extraordinary remedies (still under consideration).
 
Criteria & procedure for granting FLA:
  • The majority of the provisions remains, but will be specified and re-organized in a single heading. Certain exceptions from the Law on Administrative Proceedings are made, due to the specificity of the free legal aid application.
  • The appeal commission will be precisely defined. The process will involve:
  • 1st instance – centers for social work
  • 2nd instance – commission established at the MOJPA, consisted of MOJPA staff,
  • 3rd instance – administrative dispute
Financing:
  •  Only attorneys are paid from the budget of the RS
  •  Mediators are paid from the budget of the RS for the provision of FLA
  •  Public notaries are paid from the budget of the RS for the provision of FLA in line with their competences
  •  Municipal FLA services are paid from the budget of the local self-government
  •  NGOs are funded through projects
Oversight:
Article 61 is specified and clearly separated from quality control
 
Quality control:
The WG agreement has been reached to develop unified criteria for free legal aid provision aimed at ensuring quality. MOJPA shall draft this bylaw. The commission for quality control will be established, consisted of representatives of all the providers’ groups, independent bodies and MOJPA. The Bar proposes a special agreement with MOJPA on establishment of such ‘independent commission/board’, as this method would keep the independence of the profession intact, rather than an imposed quality control based on the law.

Following the retreat, we have agreed that a small group will finalize the Draft Law on FLA in line with the conclusions reached. Upon finalization of the Draft, a public debate shall be organized and the Law will be submitted to the Parliament by the end of the year.