On January 3, 2017 Petro Poroshenko signed Law of Ukraine "On High Council of Justice" according to official Internet representation of the President of Ukraine. This document, in particular, changes in the Law of Ukraine "On free legal aid" in terms of expanding the circle of persons entitled to free secondary legal aid. On 4 January Voice of Ukraine published the Law of Ukraine "On High Council of Justice", therefore these changes take effect from 5 January 2017.
The purpose of these legislative amendments is to strengthen the social safeguards by extending the circle of persons entitled to state-guaranteed free legal aid.
First of all, we are talking about internally displaced persons and persons who today only claim to receive such a status. Thus, about 1 700 000 people may take advantage of the qualified legal aid now – it is the approximate number of registered internally displaced persons.
The same social guarantee is provided for individuals applying to receive the combatant status. Moreover, free secondary legal aid will be provided to the war veterans, including combatants (currently there are about 275,000 persons), other persons subject to the law of Ukraine "On status of war veterans, guarantees of their social protection" not only regarding their social protection, as it was before the adoption of the said amendments, but on any other issues.
Also the approaches to defining low income significantly changed, what is the criterion for obtaining free secondary legal aid by not less than 10 million people.
The changes take into account the objective need for ensuring access to free legal aid to persons who have income equal to the subsistence minimum, or even more, however, insufficient for self-payment of legal services. In addition, the amendments make a person independent from the income of other family members in the matter of applying for free legal aid. First of all, it will allow seeking such aid by individuals, whose legitimate rights and interests are violated in the family.
People can exercise their right to free legal aid through network of centers providing free secondary legal aid and their subdivisions – Legal Aid Bureau offices. Legal services are provided by lawyers and staff lawyers of the centers. You can get detailed information on the issues associated with obtaining free legal aid by the 24 hour telephone line– 0 800 213 103 or on the web sites of Ministry of Justice or Coordinating center for legal aid providing.
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