Pavlo Petrenko during visit to First Kyiv Center for FSLA
Next year the system of providing free legal aid will be expanded and will receive functions of judicial authorities at local level. The Minister of Justice of Ukraine Pavlo Petrenko reported about it on December 21, 2015 during visit to the First Kyiv Center for providing free secondary legal aid.
“Next year we are launching a system of extension of centers to provide free legal aid and transfer its function of judicial authorities in the field. Therefore, the person who will be coming to such centers will be able to receive primary legal aid, lawyer’s advice, necessary documents - either through the front office or through any of our online services, as well as consultation. These are the functions to be performed by the Ministry of Justice of the European standard”, said the head of the Ministry of Justice.
According to Petrenko, the Ministry of Justice has inherited 700 district offices of Justice of the Soviet type, where the staff was far from being able to provide aid to an ordinary citizen.
“We must move to a system of "justice centers" - centers for free legal aid that will take over the functions of communication with citizens in specific communities, regions, small towns. They have to become the face of justice at local level. It will be functional completion of reforming the Justice Ministry where people will receive help and protection from the old system that still exists in many state agencies”.
Director of Coordinating center for providing legal aid Andriy Vyshnevsky noted that this year more than 35 thousand Ukrainians addressed local centers for free secondary legal aid in civil and administrative cases. More than 7,500 of visitors were appointed lawyers to represent their interests in court. Lawyers managed to achieve 350 acquittals and more than 11 000 cases of release or the appointment of minimum punishment.
“These figures show that the adversarial principle in criminal proceedings incorporated in the new Code is implemented, also through the system of free legal aid”, Andriy Vyshnevsky said.
Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko (left) and Director of Coordinating center for providing legal aid Andriy Vyshnevsky. Photo by legalaid.gov.ua
According to Andriy Vyshnevsky, 100 local centers providing free secondary legal aid that were opened this year are a small amount relative to the entire territory of Ukraine.
He also reminded about the opening of a unified call center that works around the clock and receives calls via number 800 213 103 and handled over 21 thousand of inquiries within 2 months of work. He said that the majority of callers are interested in contacts of centers and ask questions about their social protection. Now a call center works in Chernivtsi and next year such center is likely to be opened in Sumy.
During the visit, the Minister of Justice talked to the staff of the center and held a personal reception of citizens who came here for help on this day. Photo by legalaid.gov.ua
Presentation report "Reforming the Ministry of Justice. Free legal aid" can be read here.
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