Free legal aid is state-guaranteed legal services for all persons who are in the territory of Ukraine on legal grounds (primary legal aid) and certain categories of persons (secondary legal aid) fully or partially at the expense of the state.
In April 2023, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted Law No. 3022-IX, which simplified access to free legal aid. This Law will enter into force on August 3, 2023.
In general, this Law can be evaluated positively due to the complementary terminology and the expansion of the circle of persons who will be able to receive free legal aid. That is, it can be argued that the right to free legal aid will become more accessible.
Here are some innovations of this Law:
• The criterion of low security for subjects entitled to free secondary legal aid was changed. Therefore, more people will be able to apply for this type of legal aid.
• The circle of subjects entitled to free secondary legal aid has been expanded, which has been supplemented, in particular: citizens of Ukraine who live in the territory of settlements located in the area of military (combat) operations or are under temporary occupation, encirclement (blockade); persons affected by human trafficking; persons who reported the assets specified in the Law of Ukraine "On Sanctions"; by foreigners and stateless persons who are in Ukraine on legal grounds (previously this right was limited by the presence of international treaties).
• From now on, children and persons recognized by the court as incompetent or whose legal capacity is limited are given the opportunity to independently apply for free primary legal assistance.
• The powers of centers to provide free legal aid have been expanded. In particular, the powers of the centers now include the provision of legal education and the provision of mediation services (resolution of disputes through negotiations with the help of a mediator-mediator).
Victoria Doskovska, attorney at Dynasty Law & Investment