7 main problems of the FLA system outlined in the report: broadcast of the presentation

10:13 Tue 19.03.24 52 Reviews

The deepening crisis in the relations between the state and the bar in the field of free legal aid, the UNBA's position being ignored for a long time, has led to fundamental changes characterized by the loss of the primary focus on the individual as the highest value by the FLA system.

This is stated in the Report on topical issues of the functioning of the legal aid system in Ukraine, which is presented today, March 19, by the Ukrainian National Bar Association.

The document, prepared by the UNBA Committee on Legal Aid, demonstrates the cause-and-effect relationships that determine the existence of problems in the FLA system and effective ways to solve them.

The main problems include:

1. Monitoring the quality of FLA provision.

2. Distribution and fulfillment of orders for FLA provision.

3. Payment for the services of lawyers.

4. Appointment of a lawyer to participate in a separate procedural action.

5. Participation of advocates in criminal proceedings in absentia.

6. Identification of the advocate with the client.

7. Termination of the provision of free legal aid in suspended criminal proceedings.

Despite the proactive partnership, creation and testing of its own (not funded by the state budget) resources for the administration and service provision of the Bar, the Ukrainian National Bar Association was artificially deprived of the status of a partner in the implementation of the state policy in the field of FLA provision, and its institutional capacity was completely ignored.

In particular, in the absence of any need for this and simultaneously with the existence of working mechanisms in the bar, the state has created and financed at the expense of taxpayers the procedures for selecting lawyers, their training, maintaining their registry, assessing the quality of their work, resources for communication with them, etc., which are implemented by the state institution - the Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision. At the same time, the quality of the work of advocates is assessed by the staff of state bodies or local governments, who often have no idea about the specifics of the work of an advocate.

The UNBA systematically states that all this leads to a distortion of the model of the Bar and violation of the rights of lawyers. In addition, the ultimate bearer of the burden of all negative changes is the recipient of assistance - the one for whom and for whom this system was supposed to work.

In addition, a significant portion of the funds allocated for FLA is spent on the administration of resources and procedures that the bar proposed to implement for the benefit of legal aid recipients without funding from the state budget.

The report also notes that the constitutional and legislatively defined model of guaranteeing the right to professional legal aid to everyone includes a special executor of the organization of its provision - the bar. And it is the advocates, as special entities that meet specially defined requirements, and the activities they carry out to provide legal aid, the quality of which is guaranteed by special procedures and mechanisms, that are the defining elements of this model of providing everyone with professional, not just any, legal aid. In this context, the legal grounds and content of the activities of the FLA centers are of particular importance, since they actually perform not only administrative functions of mediation between other subjects of legal relations on the provision of FLA (between recipients and providers of FLA), but also a significant part of substantive functions.

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