MONITORING OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAW ON FREE LEGAL AID

From 2007 to December 2009 when the Law on Free Legal Aid was adopted, EcHO was actively involved in group of civic organizations, recognized as providers of various forms of free legal aid in order to contribute to the process of preparing and adoption of Law on Free Legal Aid.

As a result of involvement in the whole process and its previous experience in the provision of free legal assistance to vulnerable and marginalized categories of citizens, EcHO in coordination with another five associations - authorized providers of free legal aid, in September 2011 started the project "Monitoring of the implementation of the Law on Free Legal Aid" in which frames continue to monitor the efficiency of application of the Law on Free Legal Aid in fully. The goal of the project is,  our suggestions and recommendations to contribute in overcoming  the anomalies and uncertainties in the law  in aim to improve  its quality and its effective implementation, and thus to allow equal and effective access to justice for all citizens in Macedonia, as well as  strengthen the capacities of associations as providers of free legal aid.

During 2012, as of November 2012, in the EcHO's Office for free legal aid was provided free legal advices and prepared  appropriate references to the 140 citizens from Stip and neighboring municipalities, from socially vulnerable categories of citizens, of which the most common are victims of domestic violence and recipients of social assistance and protection.

At the same time, were prepared proposals to overcome the registered weaknesses and deficiencies of the established system of free legal aid, which resulted from the direct contact with citizens and operation of the free legal aid office. Those recommendations were incorporated in the Analysis of the application of the law on free legal aid for 2011, entitled "Fairytale or Reality!? Free legal aid in the Republic of Macedonia ", published by Macedonian Young Lawyers Association. This analysis was promoted to the general public in Stip on May 23, 2011.

Also, representatives of ECHO observed the several trials in which free legal aid was approved by the Ministry of Justice, and in which frames were interviewed applicants who have been granted free legal aid, lawyers as providers of the same and the judges.

During September and October 2012, ECHO, through representative of associations - providers of free legal aid, was included in the working group of the Ministry of Justice, which prepared the latest amendments to the Law on Free Legal Aid.

An analysis of data obtained from operations and activities in 2012, and new suggestions and recommendations will be incorporated into the annual analysis, which publishing is expected in early 2013.