Title:Triple A for citizens: Access to information, advices and active help
Description: This publication is the result of the research that included an analysis of the legal framework in the areas of information, citizens’ consulting and providing free legal aid. It reflects the current state of free legal aid regulation and offers commentaries on the draft law on free legal aid, empirical data from the survey and a list of legal aid providers recognized by law in various procedures before state institutions and courts.
National Report on the system of information, consultation and active help to citizens in Serbia is a result of research of the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights within the project “Three A for citizens: access to information, advices and active help”. The study included an analysis of the legal framework in the field of informing, consulting citizens and providing legal aid. The report provides an overview of duty to provide information and advice established by regulations of the Republic of Serbia. It also gives a list of legally recognized providers of legal aid in the various proceedings in front of state bodies and on courts.
The report shows the current state of regulating free legal aid as well as comments on the draft of the Law on Free Legal Aid, which was created under the former structure of the working group of the relevant ministry. Comment was given starting from empirical data on citizens needs for different forms of free legal aid identified through years of YUCOM’s work in this area and through conducted research in December 2012.
A system of effective legal aid that should be the aim of the new Law on Free Legal Aid cannot be established without reviewing the current practice of providing legal aid in Serbia. Although a unique legal framework didn’t exist, legal aid was provided on the basis of regulations or citizens needs. In this way, local authorities, law practice, non-governmental organizations, legal clinics and trade unions have been established as potential providers of free legal aid. It has also been identified that one segment of independent institutions – the Ombudsman of the Republic of Serbia and the Commissioner for Protection of Equality – includes advising citizens and providing free legal aid. In the context of conducted research, there have been collected data that allow making conclusions about geographical distribution of free legal aid providers. In addition, the report contains figures about the users of certain services, as well as the areas where free legal aid was provided. There have also been included opinions of free legal aid providers about advantages and disadvantages of the legal framework for establishing an effective and efficient system. These opinions, as well as data obtained during research, were the basis to formulate recommendations for establishing public politics or activities within the NGO sector for strengthening the position and improving quality of work in the field of providing legal aid.