As of 1 January 2014 the new Law on free legal aid is in force, since the old legislation did not work in practice. The main changes are to the scope of the primary legal aid, which now encompasses not only legal advice, but more general services. The legislation on secondary legal aid has not been significantly changed. The main change regards the wealth of free legal aid beneficiaries. In order to be eligible for FLA, the applicant’s income should not exceed 3.326,00 HRK, and the value of their assets should not be higher than 199.560,00 HRK.
The new legislation has made changes to the financing of free legal aid services as well. The funds are to be drawn directly from the state, since it is recognized as one of the duties of the state. What is more, the providers of free legal aid will get their funds in advance and not after the service has been provided (the voucher system has been abolished), which should in effect cause the system to be more efficient.
It remains to be seen whether these changes to the legislation will have an impact on the functioning of the free legal aid system as one of the pillars of democratic society.