In the process of assessing the shortcomings in the provision of Legal Aid in Criminal Proceedings in North Macedonia, a series of remote interviews with relevant interlocutors (private and ex officio lawyers, judge, public prosecutor, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, custody officer etc.) have been conducted.
During the three-days assessment, carried out by two Council of Europe consultants and the project team, nine meetings/interviews have been held covering important topics such as legal aid in criminal proceedings (investigation, court hearings and appeal stages), the mechanism of request and appointment of a lawyer, service providers and quality assurance mechanism, as well as management and funding of the system. In addition to the interviews, the consultants conducted a survey using questionnaires for lawyers and judges, covering the topics mentioned above.
The data collected from the interviews and from the questionnaires will help the Council of Europe consultants Mr. Victor Zaharia and Ms. Bojana Netkova to prepare the assessment and then propose related recommendations on the provision of legal aid in criminal proceedings in North Macedonia. Their work will constitute the basis and will provide the needed guidance for addressing shortcomings and implementation of the subsequent activities to enhance the access to justice in criminal proceedings, which is an essential precondition for exercising human rights.
This activity was organised within the Action on “Supporting enhanced access to higher quality Free Legal Aid services in North Macedonia”, which is part of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II”, a joint EU/Council of Europe programme implemented by the Council of Europe.