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What are Community Law Centers?

Community Law Center is the place where residents of the community, in particular, representatives of vulnerable groups of society, can get free legal aid. The network of Community Law Centers consists of 42 centers in 20 regions of Ukraine.

The network of Community Law Centers was formed in 2009, when the heads of 8 Centers decided to combine their efforts to develop a common approach to provide primary legal aid in communities, work on the generalization of typical legal appeals and develop standards of providing such legal aid. The Handbook on legal aid in communities has become the result of this work in 2012.

The network integrates the Community Law Centers which consolidated their cooperation in 2013 by signing the Memorandum. Those who signed the Memorandum are actively cooperating to develop permanent system of primary legal aid in communities.

The mission of the Centers is to establish and to adjust social connections in communities, to include representatives of vulnerable groups of society into social processes, decision-making process, and to increase the level of legal education and capacity to defend oneself by legal methods.

Centers’ task is to provide basic information on legal issues to people who turn for help, to identify legal needs of local communities, to cooperate with local authorities to solve individual problems and to defend interests of the community, and to introduce means of dealing with legal conflicts (reconciliation, mediation, restorative practices) and to provide free legal aid.

Center’s work allows organizing citizens’ appeals to sections and departments of local authorities and local self-government. The Centers give necessary information to the people on the most effective means to solve legal problem. Afterwards, people apply to the specific government body which has competence to solve the problem.

The network of Community Law Centers is established and works with the support of the “Rule of law” program of International Renaissance Foundation and UNDP.

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