Number of Requests for Free Primary Legal Aid on Rise

Total Croatia News

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Primary legal aid, whose cost is covered by the state and which includes the provision of general legal information and advice, making of motions, representation before administration offices, ministries, public companies etc., was provided in 27,200 cases in 2020, and in 20,700 cases in 2019, which is an increase of 31.5%, according to a report on free legal aid adopted by the government.

Most of the legal aid was provided by authorised associations while much less was provided by county administration bodies and legal clinics.

In almost 90% of the cases, free legal aid concerned the provision of general legal information and advice.

Free legal aid, a mechanism that enables financially disadvantaged citizens to access courts and other bodies, includes secondary legal aid, and the number of requests for secondary free legal aid in 2020 dropped by 24% compared to 2019, the exceptions being Slavonski Brod-Posavina, Dubrovnik-Neretva and Varaždin counties, where it increased, and Požega-Slavonia and Zadar counties, where it remained at the 2019 level.

The purpose of secondary free legal aid is to enable all citizens, including those who cannot afford it, to access courts and exercise the right to a fair trial, with the state covering the cost of attorneys, expert witnesses, court interpreters, etc.

In 2020, citizens submitted 4,459 requests for secondary free legal aid, of which 3,016 were approved and 451 were rejected.

Along with Croatian nationals, secondary free legal aid was also provided to foreign nationals, most of whom were from Bosnia and Herzegovina (21), followed by Kosovo (3) and Germany (2).

The largest number of requests for secondary free legal aid was submitted in Zagreb and Istria Counties, 456 and 419 respectively, and the least in Šibenik-Knin County, 59.

The amount of money spent on free legal aid in 2020 was 4.3% lower than in 2019, but the drop referred only to secondary legal aid, while expenses for primary free legal aid rose from 2019.

Of the HRK 4.3 million set aside for free legal aid, 2 million was envisaged for primary and 2.2 million for secondary legal aid, while eventually 2.1 million was spent on primary and 1.5 million on secondary free legal aid.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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