Country report on the information system, advisory and active assistance for the citizens of Serbia was developed as a result of the research conducted by the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights within the project Triple A for Citizens: Access to information, Advice and Active help. The research included the analysis of the legal framework in the field of provision of information, advisory services for the citizens and provision of free legal aid. The report provides the overview of the obligation to provide information and advice as defined by the regulations of the RS.
The report presents the current situation in field of regulation of free legal aid, as well as comments about the Draft Law on Free Legal Aid which was presented to the professional public in September 2016. The comment about the Draft Law on Free Legal Aid was based on empirical data on the needs of the citizens for various types of free legal aid identified through long-term activities of YUCOM in this filed and the research1 undertaken in December 2012.
The system of effective legal aid which should be the goal of the new Law on Free Legal Aid cannot be implemented without reviewing current practice of provision of free legal ad in Serbia. Despite the lack of uniform legal framework, free legal aid was provided on the basis of different legal regulations or needs of the citizens. Thus, the following were identified as possible providers of free legal aid: units of local self-government, attorneys, non-governmental organizations, legal clinics and labor unions. It was also identified that one segment of work of independent institutions – Protector of Citizens and Commissioner for Protection of Equality – included advising of the citizens and provision of free legal aid. Undertaken research provided data necessary for reaching of the conclusion on geographic distribution of providers of free legal aid. Also, the report contains numeric data on beneficiaries of certain services, as well as on the fields within which free legal aid is provided. It includes the opinions of the providers of free legal aid on advantages and insufficiencies of legal framework for development of effective and efficient system. These opinions, along with the data received through research, were the basis for formulation of recommendations for development of public policies and for the activities within non-governmental sectors and improvement of performance in provision of legal aid.