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A unique model of legal aid for village councils is being tested in Odessa region
  • Written by Igor Brynosh, Odessa regional organization “Committee of voters of Ukraine”
  • Published in Events
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Leonid Semenenko, head of Tatarbunar regional legal department. Photo from Odessa regional organization “Committee of voters of Ukraine” archives
Leonid Semenenko, head of Tatarbunar regional legal department.

Three village councils of Odessa region have united their financial, human and organizational resources to create a joint Community Law Center.

In Tatarbunar district of Odessa region a unique model of legal aid for village councils is being tested. This model was created by joint efforts of public organizations, local self-governmental bodies, and regional legal departments. Three village councils will create a common Community Law Center in 2014.

Small village communities have a very reduced local budget. So, uniting efforts could be a solution for them, as it is almost impossible for a village to fund a Community Law Center on its own. However, if several villages provide their resources it all becomes more realistic. Tatarbunar district will host this pilot project in 2014.

The first step consisted in forming a working group from local activists, representatives of local authorities and self-governmental bodies. Leonid Semenenko, head of regional legal department started working together with representatives of Odessa regional organization “Committee of voters of Ukraine”. A Memorandum of understanding was prepared. Moreover, Odessa regional organization “Committee of voters of Ukraine” provided its lawyer to test free legal aid system. As a result, 27 villagers had access to free legal consultations in February.

The second step is to approve the regulations of the joint Community Law Center. The village councils have to vote this regulation and prepare a contest to choose the best lawyer for their communities. Furthermore, local budgets have to be reviewed to allocate funds for the Center.

The third step is the opening of the Center and elaboration of a schedule for the lawyer. The position of the lawyer will be financed by three village councils. The Center itself will be based in Lyman village.

The last stage is the elaboration of recommendations and best-practices. The results of the project will be presented in December 2014. A booklet will be prepared to explain all the stages of the project. This booklet will be spread to different local self-governmental bodies for inspiration. It will also be presented to the Coordination center for free legal aid and the Ministry of Justice to help with further implementation of free legal aid system in Ukraine.

Information
“Creation of an efficient model of free primary legal aid in village communities” project is being implemented by Odessa regional organization “Committee of voters of Ukraine” and is supported by UNDP.

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