Starting from July 1, 100 centers for free legal aid provision will start their work all over Ukraine. Such a statement has been made during a collegium of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine with participation of the Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk by the Minister of Justice of Ukraine Pavlo Petrenko.
“Starting from July 1 by the Government’s order the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine launches a broad-scale social program. Ukraine will have 100 free legal aid provision centers with about 5 thousand Ukrainian lawyers working there, selected during open competitions”, - stated the Minister.
Such centers are going to provide legal aid to all Ukrainian citizens, although special attention will be drawn to financially disadvantaged citizens, ATO participants, as well as to bereaved families. In addition, these centers will focus on administrative cases.
“We focus on the fact that these centers are going to provide assistance in administrative matters. The Ministry of Justice must become a lawyer for Ukrainian citizens and provide assistance, which cannot be received by a lot of Ukrainians due to the high cost for services, provided by private lawyers”, - emphasized the Minister of Justice.
He also stated that according to the estimation of the Ministry, about 8 million Ukrainians will be able seek assistance from judicial authorities.
The Director of the Coordinating Centre for Legal Aid Providing Andriy Vyshnevsky in his turn stated that a developed free primary legal aid system at local communities’ level is an important factor for sustainable development and implementation of right to local governance. And as for appointment of free secondary legal aid – it means ensuring equal access to justice for people, regardless of their income, as well as ensuring the mechanism of implementation of right to a fair trial.
He also informed that the right to free legal aid has been enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine. However, over the years the Government failed to carry out implementation mechanisms.
“During the last six months preparations for the deployment of the free legal aid system has been carried out. Currently, such legal aid is provided only in criminal cases, but starting from July 1 it is going to be provided in civil and administrative cases. In order to do so 100 interdistrict centers have been established at a local level. Its directors have been appointed according to results of an open competition. Interior outfitting is nearly complete”, - stated Andriy Vyshnevsky.
He also added that from January 1, 2013 the system ensures access to an attorney for every citizen within 2 hours after actual arrest. Over 2,5 years there has been a significant decrease of physical and psychological pressure on detainees due to the free legal aid system implementation.
“On average, the system provides protection to approximately 70 thousand suspects annually. And starting from July 1 this year the number of citizens, who will have the right to free secondary aid, is going to increase to 8 million people”, - summarized Andriy Vyshnevskiy.