The analysis “Law on Free Legal Aid – The First Six Months of Implementation” was prepared within the project “Free Legal Aid Unpacking” with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Serbia.
The new Law on Free Legal Aid came into force on October 1, 2019. The activities from the Action Plan for Chapter 23, ranging from constitutional changes in the judiciary, through disciplinary responsibility of judges and prosecutors, distribution of court cases, to the adoption of the Law on Free Legal Aid, are part of a complex puzzle, and its completion will provide equal opportunity to access the court, to expect a fair trial within a reasonable time and speedy and efficient execution of the court decisions for all the citizens, regardless of their financial status.
The first step is to create opportunities for the citizens to receive information about their position, rights and obligations and opportunities for judicial protection. Obtaining this information could direct citizens towards peaceful settlement of disputes, and enable the overburdened judiciary to provide citizens with quality and fast trials in cases where a peaceful solution is not possible.
The precondition for fulfilling of this task and building a comprehensive and functional system of free legal aid is the establishment of free legal aid services in local self-governments, which are the foundation of such a system.
The focus of this research are the first six months of application of the Law on Free Legal Aid and the work of services and individuals in charge of providing free legal aid in the cities and municipalities in Serbia, with special reference to the position of associations in the system of free legal aid.