The retreat took place in Fruska Gora, 07.02. to 08.02. 2015. The following working group members participated:
This retreat was the final decision-making meeting, i.e. the Draft is prepared and will be published at the MoJ website and sent to the EC for final comments. The work was constructive, considering that the representatives of different stakeholder groups agreed upon the major issues:
Right to Free Legal Aid
(Art. 7) was amended. Primary legal aid is now dived in order to enable wide accessibility, however, without the obligation of lawyers to provide free legal advice to everyone regardless of their financial situation. Legal advice and drafting legal documents shall be available only to the beneficiaries listed in this Law. Nevertheless, any provider has the right to provide such form of legal aid without meeting specific conditions.
The WG has agreed that the wider circle of the potential beneficiaries, recommended by the EC, should be included in the draft.
During the retreat, the key discussion was focused on the issue of the providers of secondary free legal aid. The WG agreement has been reached as to the following: Secondary legal aid shall be provided by:
Secondary legal aid shall be provided by:
notaries and mediators, within the scope of their work;
representatives of legal aid services established in the local self-government units,;
representatives of associations in proceedings before state administrative bodies or organizations entrusted with public authority;
representatives of associations in a case in which they have an independent right to file a complaint for violation of the rights and freedoms of other persons, in accordance with the provisions of special laws;
representatives of associations that may have intervener status in the disputewhich shall decide upon the rights, freedoms and interests based on the law, of a member of the association, in accordance with the provisions of special laws.
Integral Registry of Service Providers
– The Bar Association insisted on the concept that they should deliver a list of lawyers interested in free legal aid provision to the Ministry of Justice. This was accepted following the discussion. “All providers shall be entered into the Registry of Free Legal Aid Providers. The ministry competent for the judiciary maintains the Registry as an integral public electronic data base on the free
legal aid service providers. The Ministry keeps records of lawyers who provide free legal aid on the basis of a list of lawyers submitted by the Bar Association of Serbia. The list of lawyers referred to in Para 3 of this Article is an integral part of the Registry.”
The Subject of Registration was also amended, including specification of the data that will be entered into the Registry.
The Referral Procedure was also specified, as the WG decided that the previously used term, ‘referral’ is not an appropriate act (which may therefore complicate the administrative procedure), hence it was replaced with the usual term ‘decision’.
Compensation for providing free legal aid was amended, as the previous term ‘compensation of costs’ was not sufficiently clear, implying solely the costs related to free legal aid provision, whereas there is a need to pay the work of free legal aid providers.
Reimbursement of Received Funds was also specified.
Supervision & Quality control are now acceptable to all the WG members, and have been successfully agreed upon during the retreat.