Inkerman Community Law Center has worked for less than a year but already 352 persons (among them 148 villagers) have received legal help and information. Center’s lawyers receive several persons per day. It is important to notice that feedback from clients was always positive. The Center is not actively advertising itself, but word of mouth system brings more and more citizens to the Center.
During a press-conference conducted on 17 April 2013, Roman Shamrai, Center’s lawyer, has informed about the most common legal problems of Inkerman: divorces, alimonies, partition of property, domestic violence.
- We are actively cooperating with the local Department of social services for family, youth and children. People come to them first, sometimes they don’t even know they need legal help. It is important to join our efforts to help our community. In Sevastopol legal services are more accessible, so we have fewer complaints. However, rural areas have their specific sets of problems that we pointed out during our monthly visits to different villages. For example, Andreevsiy village has a lot of problems with regulation of land property. People obtain permissions to build on property, turn to private firms for requested papers, pay them and the firm goes bankrupt. People are left without money and without papers. This is unacceptable. We help them to get papers for free. In Kachinskiy village we provide consultations for future entrepreneurs who want to develop small touristic business in the region. In Orlinoe village we had a lot of issues with divorces, child custody, alimonies. In Ternovka village we provide consultation for privatization of property.
Community Law Center has a large spectrum of activities. The Center organizes field visits to villages, meetings with citizens in Inkerman, provides consultations to citizens, distributes informational materials, conducts round tables, monitors local legal decisions, cooperates with regional authorities, acts as a mediator etc. Donor funding of the Center is touching to its end, so the organization is actively looking for partnerships with local authorities to provide sustainable legal aid to the community. There is a real demand from the community for quality legal consultations and information. For now, the Center is working in partnership with the Law Department of Tavria National University. Future lawyers can practice their skills in the Center. Also, it is important to have a cooperation system with law enforcement bodies, local deputies, libraries, schools etc. The local Department of social services for family, youth and children is already working with the Center. Main clients of the Center are the poor population of Inkerman: pensioners, large families, and unemployed people. For these categories of citizens it is very difficult to get access to quality legal aid as they don’t have the necessary money to pay for a professional lawyer.
- I have told all my friends about the Center. At first, nobody believed me when I was telling that legal aid can be free. However, once they came to the Center they realized that it is really free; lawyers are very polite and attentive to our problems (Mariya Schukina, 92-years old pensioner from Inkerman).
- The main focus of the Center is to show people that if they have access to legal knowledge and information, they can prevent a lot of problems in their life, they can enhance the quality of their lives, and they do not have to be afraid anymore to stand for their rights. The work of the Center is very important to local people (Irina Novikova, head of Sevastopol League of social workers).
Inkerman Community Law Center was set up by Sevastopol League of social workers with the support of the International “Renaissance” Foundation within the framework of “Legal empowerment of the poor Initiative”. You may find more information about the Centers’ network, basics, and principles of their activity at www.pravo.prostir.ua in the “Community Law Center” section.