In accordance with CDCJ terms of reference for 2016-2017, a comparative analysis of existing data on free civil legal aid schemes in the member states (with particular attention to the key obstacles to the effective working of these schemes and to a gap analysis) has been prepared by a consultant for CDCJ.

On the basis of this analysis, the conclusions of which the CDCJ took note at its 91st plenary meeting (16-18 November 2016), it was decided to assess the feasibility of developing policy guidance based on good practice and aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of legal aid schemes in the areas of civil and administrative law in the member states. This work was carried out in 2018 by a working group of CDCJ.

On the basis of the reports of the two meetings held by the working group, including its opinion on such a feasibility, the CDCJ agreed to develop draft guidelines and entrusted a drafting group to prepare them for submission to CDCJ and approval by the end of 2020 and then to the Committee of Ministers for possible adoption in 2021.