After waiting for 15 years, the most vulnerable segments of the Serbian population will be finally entitled to free legal aid as of 1st October. This applies to the poorest citizens, victims of violence and human trafficking, refugees, etc.
Free legal assistance will be available to beneficiaries of financial aid, welfare or family allowances, as well as to those people who would become significantly impoverished due to having to pay legal costs.
Vulnerable groups also have this right, regardless of their financial status, namely children whose rights, obligations or interests are decided before a court or other authority, victims of domestic violence, asylum seekers, refugees, persons under subsidiary protection, internally displaced persons, persons with disabilities and those enjoying protection against torture and inhuman treatment or human trafficking.
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Free legal aid will be provided by lawyers and local government legal aid services. In addition, various associations can directly provide free assistance in procedures relating to seeking asylum and protection against discrimination. Associations dealing with the protection of the rights and freedoms of persons and minorities can provide free assistance to victims of domestic violence, social or sexual violence, as well as protect the rights of LGBT, the Roma population, children and persons with disabilities.
Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic has confirmed that the new law, stipulating all of the above, will come into force on 1st October.
“It is absolutely essential to provide equal access to justice for all citizens so that those people who have not been able to exercise their rights so far can do so in the future. It is also important to have a country that is financially stable and able to provide these funds, as these are not limited amounts,” Kuburovic said.
The costs of the procedure and of the assistance services will be financed from the budgets of the central and local government, as well as from the financial support to projects and donations.
(Vecernje Novosti, 24.09.2019)
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