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Introduction of the Reform project on legal aid

Wed, 14/10/2015 - 11:31 -- dongnv

On the 1st June, 2015 Prime Minister signed the Decision 749/QD-TTg issuing the reform project on legal aid. The National Legal Aid Agency, Ministry of Justice introduces some main contents of this Project.

The overall objective of the Project is to renew legal aid by promoting socialization to specifically fit each region and sector so that after 2025, legal aid providers will become legal practitioners, guaranteeing that the eligible beneficiaries of legal aid services will be provided timely, with qualified service equivalent to the service provided in the market; transferring state legal aid centers (Centers) from main providers of legal aid to agencies which perform state management of legal aid, streamlining the organization, structure and staffing; strongly reforming State administrative procedures in access to legal aid services. In each phase, the Project sets out specific objectives and mission groups as well as solutions to achieve general objectives. Specifically:

- From 2015 to the time the Law on Legal Aid is amended:

+ Innovate key Legal Aid activities, focusing on implementation of the main task which is to provide legal aid cases, especially cases related to proceedings.

+ Innovate State implementation of legal aid on the basis of reorganizing Centers in the direction of streamlining the organization, structure and staffing; reducing administrative costs; focusing resources on improving the quality of legal aid; enhancing management efficiency; ensuring efficiency and consistency with economic - social conditions, legal aid needs and human resources providing local legal aid services; mobilizing society organizations involved in the implementation of legal aid; stop establishinng new Center Branch (Branch), Legal Aid Club; checking organization and operation of Branch and Club to find a solution whether to merge or dissolute

+ Socialize legal aid activities and mobilize social resources involved in legal aid. At the same time, the Project increases remuneration for lawyers and legal aid officials dealing with proceedings cases.

+ Improve capacity of legal aid providers and improve the quality of legal aid services by training and retraining with the appropriate form. At the same time, developing mechanisms to convert the legal aid providers who finish an annual assigned case to lawyer (if they wish). These lawyers do not have to participate in professional training course and probation, such lawyers will have priority to contract with State to perform legal aid.

Ministry of Justice (National Legal Aid Agency) support and coordinate resources for legal aid cases in litigation.

+ Improve efficiency of control quality of legal aid cases.

- In the period since the amended Law on Legal Aid takes effect to 2025:

+ Legal aid beneficiaries: Extending the beneficiary group to near poor households, households who just escape from poverty; victims of domestic violence, children under 18 years old, cases requires appointed counsel.

+ Maintain Center in the provinces with difficult and extremely difficult economic - social conditions, enhance capacity for legal aid officials, simultaneously develop the roadmap to convert the Center to State management agencies in 2025.  For the Centers in the remaining provinces and cities, there shall be a roadmap to convert the Center from the agency which directly provides legal aid services to an agency which performs state management of legal aid, legal aid services will be provided by practicing lawyer organizations and lawyers; rearrange redundant staff of the Center to reinforce the business units and the administrative unit of the Department of Justice and legal organizations in specialized agencies of the provincial People's Committee, District Department of Justice and State management agencies on legal aid.

+ Legal aid providers: Before 2025, legal aid providers are legal aid officials and lawyers. The State signs contracts with lawyers (public defender) on regulary basic or signs contract with practicing lawyers on case by case basic. After 2025 legal aid providers are lawyers.

+ Socialize legal aid activities forcefully, attract respected lawyer organizations and experienced lawyers to provide legal aid services and review the quality of legal aid cases.

+ Since 2025, implement the amended Law on Legal Ai, fully socialize State Legal Aid, the State play the role in state management, resource coordination, ensuring legal aid beneficiaries benefit timely and qualified legal aid services equivalent with services provided by lawyers in the market, meet legal aid need in criminal, civil, marriage - family and administrative litigation; ensure that the State budget is spent effectively.

Essential missions in the near future

- Developing Law on Legal Aid (Amended)

- Developing a decree to replace Decree No. 07/2007/ND-CP dated 12/01/2007 of the Government details and guidance of the implementation of some articles in the Law on Legal Aid (including provisions about encouraging lawyers, law-practicing organizations and Legal counseling centers about Legal aid implemented by the State according to socialization policy).

- Amend Joint Circular No. 209/2012/BTC-BTP dated 30/11/2012 - issued by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Justice - guiding the establishment, management, use budget for legal aid organizations, ensuring the operation of legal aid agencies and State organizations (towards increasing the remuneration and simplifying administrative procedures)

- Amend Circular No. 02/2013/TT-BTP dated 01/05/2013 issued by the Ministry of Justice on Criteria to evaluate the quality of legal aid cases

- Promulgate Regulations on coordination and cooperation in the State's legal aid activities and implementation of legal aid obligations of lawyers

- Research and develop mechanisms for converting legal aid officials to lawyers

- Develop subordinate documents of Legal Aid Law (Amendment) to ensure the implementation effectively

- Development of Strategy of Legal Aid (Amendment) submit to the Prime Minister for his approval

- Develop Scheme of information technology applications in organizations, legal aid activities, management and evaluattion the quality of legal aid cases

- Develop Renewal Scheme to renovate and consolidate the organization and operation of National Legal Aid Agency (to become a State agency capable of managing and coordinating legal aid resources).

- Develop mechanisms to encourage qualified lawyers organizations and practicing lawyers involved in the legal aid.

- Train and retrain some current experts to become legal aid providers (suitable forms of training to raise the level of professional service, knowledge management, strengthen professional training and legal aid skills, especially skills in Court proceedings; ethnic minoritiy language in ethnic minority areas)

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