UNBA will send an appeal to the Verkhovna Rada on the bill on simplification of access to the free legal aid

Legislation 21:00 Fri 19.03.21 46 Reviews Print

UNBA calls on the Parliament not to adopt amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine to facilitate access to free legal aid and improve the quality of its provision in the edition in which there is a proposal to introduce peer review for attorneys of the free legal aid system for the second time.

The relevant appeal of the UNBA will be sent to the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada. This was announced by the President of UNBA, Bar Council of Ukraine Lydia Izovitova at a meeting of the Bar Council of Ukraine.

The previous Draft Law "On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Facilitating Access to Free Legal Aid for Children and Persons with Disabilities and Improving the Quality of Its Provision" was registered for №2704 on December 28, 2019, but was revoked in March 2020 due to objections from the UNBA. The bill, in particular, proposed to introduce a peer review for free legal aid for attorneys, following the example of the Scottish model, which is, in fact, an attempt to revise the legal position of the defense and interfere with attorney-client privilege.

"Such a bill was submitted to parliament. We give our written observations on it. We pointed out that this bill was prepared by the Ministry of Justice without a bar. At the same time, it concerns attorneys and, in accordance with European standards, it should be agreed with us. Although this bill was withdrawn, a new bill appeared recently, on February 19, with a new registration number and a new name, but with the same proposals to introduce a peer review for free legal aid", - Lydia Izovitova said.

The UNBA Head stressed that the new bill, as well as the previous one, was not agreed with the bar.

"Our Committee on Free Legal Aid is preparing an opinion on this bill. Accordingly, we need to appeal to the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada, because at the nearest time the parliament will consider this issue at the Verkhovna Rada Committee. We must appeal to emphasize once again that this bill is not accepted by the bar, as we believe that this law should be completely different from the organizational point of view. In addition, it was sent to the parliament without the consent of the bar", - Lydia Izovitova stressed.

The UNBA President insists that to reform the free legal aid, we have to submit another bill, which will introduce a real European model with minimal state interference in free legal aid provision.

"The free legal aid should be organized by the bar, and the state should determine the criteria for receiving free legal aid, the procedure, and amount of funding. According to our preliminary estimates, if such a model is introduced, the savings for the state budget will be up to 70%", - Lydia Izovitova said.

UNBA is ready to prepare such a bill with the involvement of the relevant Committee on Free Legal Aid and further submit it to the Commission on Legal Reform under the President of Ukraine

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