Suspension of criminal proceedings blocks payments to FLA lawyers - a problem

Advocacy
19:13 Wed 27.03.24 46 Reviews
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In case of suspension of criminal proceedings, the provision of legal aid to a suspect is effectively terminated, as there is no immediate need for it. However, the Law «On Free Legal Aid» does not provide a corresponding ground for termination of secondary legal aid.

The problem of the lack of proper regulation of the termination of free secondary legal aid in case of suspension of criminal proceedings was highlighted in the UNBA Report on topical issues of the functioning of the free legal aid system in Ukraine.

The assignments issued by the FLA centers continue to be valid, and lawyers cannot receive payment for the work they have already done.

«When a suspect is put on the wanted list, it is impossible to even predict the timeframe for resumption of proceedings. The person may never be found at all, - notes Olena Demyanova, secretary of the UNBA Committee on Legal Aid, in a statement. - However, the attorney has done a certain amount of work that should have been paid for. However, the legal regulation is such that it violates the right of a lawyer engaged by the FLA system to be paid for services already rendered».

The report emphasizes the relevance of this problem, as cases of suspension of criminal proceedings are becoming more common today. Among other things, because the accused was called up for military service.

The UNBA believes that the only effective way to solve this problem is to amend Part 1 of Article 23 of the Law «On Free Legal Aid», which defines the grounds on which a free legal aid center has the right to terminate the provision of free legal aid by a lawyer. During 2023, the UNBA submitted proposals on this issue, which have not yet been supported.

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