Problems of the FLA system were discussed by the Ombudsman

Advocacy
19:00 Tue 19.12.23 129 Reviews
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Due to the lack of control established by law, the quality of legal aid provision in the country is gradually declining. And experienced lawyers lose motivation to cooperate with the FLA system.

During the working meeting, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets and the Vice President of UNBA Valentyn Gvozdiy discussed the state of functioning of the free legal aid system.

The latter drew the Ombudsman's attention to the tendency of the state to remove the bar from participation in the functioning of the FLA system, as well as attempts to take over the functions that belong to the exclusive powers of the bar self-government bodies.

In particular, the work of the Supervisory Board of the Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision, which is supposed to ensure the democratic development of the system and minimize corruption risks in it, is completely blocked (we recall that this body has not been functioning for almost two years). The bar has also been effectively excluded from the rule-making and organizational processes of ensuring the functioning of the FLA system, although the institution has a wide range of its own resources.

In addition, lawyers, as highly qualified specialists, are practically not involved in the provision of primary legal aid, which is currently provided incompletely and mostly at the expense of staff members of state authorities and local self-government bodies.

In his turn, D. Lubinets noted that in the course of processing citizens' appeals to him, the need for professional legal aid often arises, as the issue requires narrow-profile consultation in certain areas of law.

Among other problems, V. Gvozdiy mentioned the unjustified underfunding of the work of lawyers providing free secondary legal aid. «Regulatory, organizational and ideological obstacles are being artificially created to pay for the work already done», he explained.

Also, the Vice President of UNBA drew the Ombudsman's attention to the fact that the bodies (institutions) authorized by law to provide FLA perform uncharacteristic functions of assessing the quality of FLA. According to the Law «On the Bar and Practice of Law», this should be done by quality assessment commissions at the bar self-government bodies. «In fact, control over the quality of FLA is provided by entities that do not have qualifications and competencies. And this makes it impossible to ensure the proper quality of FLA», noted V. Gvozdiy.

That is why, in his opinion, the bar self-government bodies should strengthen their role in the administration of the FLA provision while maintaining the function of full financial control by the state.

Also during the meeting, the UNBA and the Ombudsman agreed to cooperate within the framework of the Child Advocate Center project and discussed the prospects for legal regulation of artificial intelligence in Ukraine. The Ombudsman expressed his belief that cooperation with the UNBA within the framework of the memorandum will be effective.

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