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Legal aid providers: cooperation and healthy competition
Chairman of Law Community Center Network Olena Matviychuk presents plans of civic association Photo by Anny Martyniuk, IRC "Legal Space"
Chairman of Law Community Center Network Olena Matviychuk presents plans of civic association

For many years International Renaissance Foundation supported formation of system of free legal aid in Ukraine from two parties: through civic initiatives and newly created public institutions. It deals with Law Community Center Network and state regional and local centers for free secondary legal aid.

The moment, when both systems cross at one point, is getting nearer – they will provide to citizens access to primary legal aid. It is important to realize value of this moment, to think over risks, to create healthy competitive environment and to develop sector of unique services. For this purpose on January 30 there took place the working meeting of members of Center Network, Coordinating Center for Legal Aid Providing, Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation and International Renaissance Foundation.

At first members of Law Community Center Network presented the plan of work for the next year, discussed their roles in development of major streams: mediation, formation of paralegal system, providing primary legal aid, free legal consultations on the Legal Space web portal. Further representatives of the Coordinating Center told about creation of a legal aid bureau that will start serving citizens since July 1, 2016. Namely, it will provide free primary legal aid in districts and cities.

Discussion concerning assessment of legal services provided ensued; both parties shared practices, discussed indicators of result achievement. The director of the Coordinating Center Andriy Vyshnevsky addressed participants of the meeting with a request to join future competitions for a position and to cooperate with the newly created bureau. The director of “Human Rights and Justice" program initiative of International Renaissance Foundation Roman Romanov noted that each state passes through stages of rapid development, creation of establishments aimed to provide free legal aid and vice versa, such times are coming when support tends to decrease. The legal aid system that provides access to it for needy people irrespective of "moods of authorities" is now being built in Ukraine. There is a wide range of opportunities for each civic initiative and organization here.

Photo by Anny Martyniuk, IRC "Legal Space"

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