Parents did not get certificate about son’s death on time, whereupon they had to sue for their rights for the land whole year.
“We wanted to sell the land and cover our everyday needs as well as the pension is not enough to live on” – says Zamir Sagynbekov resident of the Chui village, Chui oblast, – “I had to sue almost a year for establishing our rights for our late son’s land”.
He had to deal with documents for a long time, but later he was able to stand up his rights with the help of Free Legal Aid center. “Lawyer of the center constantly advised and helped to file statements of claim and other documents. I would not have solved the problem without center’s help”- says Zamir.
There are tens of thousands people who need free legal aid for solving their worldly issues in our country. Vulnerable groups of people were not provided by free legal aid in civil and administrative cases under the law, and this gap had been filled by public and donor organizations.
Taking into account this urgent need series of changes introduced to the new Law “On state-guaranteed free legal aid” (SGFLA), which was signed by the President of the Kyrgyz Republic on December 20, 2016. Changes refer to the sphere of providing free legal aid in case of funds lack.
The new law proposed to divide the state guaranteed legal aid into two types: legal-consultation and professional legal service. Legal consultation means assistance in preparation of legal documents, informing about mechanisms of rights protection, legal advices and others. Professional legal service is an activity of advocates representing and protecting persons in court cases, at the expenses of the state.
One of the main novelties of the law is introduction of the right for professional legal services in civil and administrative cases. In addition, the new law widened the circle of individuals who are entitled to receive state guaranteed free legal aid. It makes the law social-oriented and easy to use. In result, free legal aid is granted for plaintiffs, defendants, suspects, accusers, convicted, acquitters, victims whose annual income does not exceed 60 times the minimum wage. Prior to that, free legal aid were provided just for defendants and accused in criminal cases, whose annual income does not exceed twelve times the minimum wage.
In addition, the new law recognizes the role and contribution of non-governmental organizations in the sphere of providing population with free legal aid. According to the norms of new law, public authorities, local governments, non-profit organizations and legal clinics will provide people with free legal consultations.
Talking about plans on implementation of the Law “On SGFLA” Minister of Justice Uran Ahmetov said that currently interagency working group develops proposal on creating united center coordinating all SGFLA system, on allocation funds from the national budget, on developing required legal acts. “Also, we closely cooperate with international organizations, which support us in creation the SGFLA Center and in other issues related to the implementation of the new law“.
“The number of people who need legal assistance increase every year. For example, in 2015 legal assistance was provided for 5085 citizens, and in 2016 this number increased till 6757. In previous years 20.3 million KGS had been allocated for the labor of layers and for 2017 were allocated 21.318 million soms” – said Uran Ahmetov.
“In 2016, with the support of international organizations were developed minimum standards on providing legal aid by lawyers with the aim to improve the quality of legal aid. Coordinators of SGFLA are responsible to monitor the implementation of these standards” – says Akzhol Kalbekov, deputy chief of Chui-Bishkek Department of the Ministry of Justice.
For improving SGFLA system’s efficiency will be increased the number coordinators which provide a link between the recipients of legal aid and relevant authorities. It was planned to hire 22 coordinators. At present, there are only 7 coordinators in the Republic.
According Akjol Kalbekov, in order to avoid “pocket lawyers” system, the new Law introduced a provision obliging law enforcement and judicial bodies to use the services lawyers from SGFLA registry. He noted that during creation the registry it is necessity to pay serious attention for selection lawyers, because the efficiency of the entire SGFLA system depend on quality of their work.
“In recent years, international organizations have provided a stable and strong support to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic for the provision of legal
“Over the past years, international organizations have provided stable and thorough support to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in providing legal assistance to the population. Today initial basis for the implementation of the new Law “On state guaranteed free legal aid” has already been created,” said Ainura Alymbekova, coordinator of the UNDP project “Widening Access to Justice in the Kyrgyz Republic”.
Within the project were created and functioning 10 Free legal aid centers under the Ministry of Justice, Legal empowerment centers under 4 local self-government bodies, public reception centers under the Ministry of Labor and Social Development with the possibility to conduct videoconferences between Osh and Bishkek cities. All these structures were created for providing free legal support for vulnerable groups of population.
This year, the Ministry of Justice, as an authorized body on providing access to legal assistance to the public have to prepare a solid foundation for the implementation of the new law.
Meri Bekeshova, UNDP project “Widening access to justice in the KR” Communication specialist