Action Summary

The action “Support to legal aid reforms” is a part of the European Union and Council of Europe programmatic framework “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey” (also known as Horizontal Facility). The action aims to support the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice in improving the processing of free legal aid applications and strengthening their capacity for providing the increased scope and quality of services. Staff of the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice, lawyers, members of the Bar Association and of civil society organisations will benefit from the training and assistance provided through the implementation of the action. The project will support initiatives to increase the number and availability of lawyers willing to provide free legal aid services. In co-operation with the Bar Association, police and other authorities, the project will develop protocols to help ensure timely access of detained persons to a lawyer. The action also aims to facilitate the process of changes of the current legal aid system following the adoption of the new Law on Free Legal Aid (LFLA).

In addition to facilitating access to free legal aid, the action will also provide targeted groups and people in vulnerable situation information about the legal aid scheme, relevant procedures and steps that will help them to overcome obstacles in receiving free legal assistance. Information materials will be developed for the wider public, explaining how legal aid applications are processed and what factors are taken into account in decision making. A promotional tool will be developed to inform the public about lawyers and civil society organisations offering legal services guaranteed by the LFLA.  

Overall objective 

The overall objective of the Action is to support legal aid reform and ensure it is implemented more effectively and in line with European standards.

The objectives of the action  

The action intends to accomplish the following objectives: 

  • The processing of applications on legal aid by the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice takes place more efficiently and effectively, in line with European standards and practice.
  • Regulatory frameworks are improved in line with European standards and practicesby using evidence-based policies.
  • Enhanced monitoring of the quality of legal services.
  • Capacities of the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice and lawyers are strengthened.
  • Awareness oflegal aid services among users/applicants is increased.

 The outcomes of the action  

The outcomes of the project will be achieved through realisation of the following expected results: 

  • Legal aid needs are assessed and implementation of the LFLA is improved.
  • Strengthened capacity of Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice to process applications under the amended and revised LFLA.
  • Mechanism(s) and indicators are developed to monitor the quality of free legal aid services funded under the LFLA, including the performance of legal service providers.
  • Increased capacity of the Bar Association to support its members in developing high-quality free legal aid services.

This webpage has been produced using funds of a joint project between the European Union and the Council of Europe.  The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

  • Duration:17 months (completed by 23 May 2019)
  • Beneficaries/Partners: Ministry of Јustice, Bar Association, Ministry of Internal Affairs and civil society organisations working on free legal aid.
  • Funding: The European Union and the Council of Europe
  • Budget: € 300 000 EUR
Project contact

 Ms Slavica Cubric, Senior Project Officer