Free Legal Aid
With the adoption of the Free Legal Aid Act the Ministry of Justice has begun realization of an extensive and challenging task of the establishment of the free legal aid system. Although certain forms of legal aid existed even before the adoption of the new Free Legal Aid Act, these solutions were only partial and not completely satisfying the citizens’ requirements.
Upon the entry into force of the Free Legal Aid Act (Official Gazette 62/08) on 1 February 2009, a comprehensive free legal aid system, targeted to aid low-income persons with the resolution of their existential problems, has been established in the Republic of Croatia.
The Free Legal Aid Act and its bylaws establish the system that enables the low-income citizens to engage an attorney, obtain legal aid for specific legal actions and have an equal access to court and administrative proceedings. Thus is created a comprehensive legal aid system which does not discriminate on the basis of the individuals’ financial status.
An improved preparation for the proceedings and a competent representation of parties enable a more effective performance of courts and other bodies which decide on the citizens’ rights and obligations. Moreover, rendering information and legal counseling in the pre-proceedings stage in a timely manner will reduce the number of cases initiated due to parties’ ignorance of its rights, obligations and unawareness of the probability of success in a specific legal case.
The new free legal aid system has established a comprehensive supervision of the quality of the rendered legal aid services and has foreseen sanctioning measures for the possible legal malpractice.