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In April 2016, a team from the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA), as an authorized organization for provision of free legal aid according to the Law on Free Legal Aid (LFLA), held two meetings regarding the system for free legal aid in Macedonia.

The first meeting was held in the office of MYLA. It was initiated by Mr. Agris Batalauskis, Mrs. Vineta Krutko – both representative from the Latvian Ministry of Justice, and Mr. Carlos Gonçalves De Melo Marinho, judge in the Appellate Court in Lisbon, Portugal. MYLA was invited to take part in the Twinning project “Strengthening the Rule of Law” whose main goal is improvement of the system for free legal aid.

This is the second meeting they have initiated with MYLA mainly due to the visibility and experience the organization has in the field of free legal aid. Their conclusion is that Macedonia needs an improved system of free legal aid which the adoption of new Law on Free Legal Aid would regulate. They also considered the presence of every relevant stakeholder in the process of adoption of this new Law, including the civil society sector and the authorized organizations for provision of FLA, such as MYLA, as essential.

They are aware of the previous work of the organization and the many analysis and researches it has prepared and were very interested in the organization’s comments of the actual Law, especially those provided in the Analysis of the implementation of the LFLA 2010-2012 where a proposal for new law was developed (http://myla.org.mk/images/pdf/ailfa.pdf ). The team from MYLA pointed out the main shortcomings of the present Law and explained the reasons why it considers the system for FLA as not sufficiently efficient or suitable for the beneficiaries needs.

Further discussion was developed on the following topics: the visibility of the authorized associations on the provision for FLA (the ban for advertisement), the conditions that one association has to fulfill in obtaining a permission for providing FLA, the conditions that the beneficiary has to fulfill in obtaining FLA, the length of the procedure when deciding upon requests for FLA, the role of the regional offices of the Ministry of Justice against the role of the Sector for FLA in the Ministry, suggestions for improvement of their work, etc.

Besides the individual meeting MYLA had with the experts, the organization was invited to participate on a round table in the Ministry of Justice where together with representatives from the Ministry (Ana Slatinec Nestorovska), other authorized organizations for provision of FLA (NRC Kumanovo, MKC Bitola, Eho Shtip and the Helsinki Committee in Macedonia), representative from the Bar Association in Macedonia (Attorney at Law Zoran Trajkovski) and experts from Latvia and Portugal. The discussions centered on what can be done in order to improve the system for FLA in Macedonia.

The invited experts – part of the Twinning project – announced further meetings of this kind since the topic is quite broad and the necessary solutions have to be carefully prepared in order to make the new system better and more efficient.

MACEDONIAN YOUNG LAWYERS ASSOCIATION

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