This Overview of the Ukrainian legal aid system was prepared within the framework of the Canadian-Ukrainian project Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine. This Overview is the result of the efforts of the Project team in close cooperation with the Project partner, the Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision. This publication describes the key elements and main performance indicators of the Ukrainian free legal aid system. Developed in 2014 for the first time, the publication is being constantly updated.
This updated version of the Overview was based on legal aid system data as of 2017 and 2018. The update was intended to capture the latest structural, legal, and operational changes within the legal aid system, including the identification and assessment of new as well as re-assessment of existing system stakeholders. The updated Overview includes mapping of key targeted system stakeholders at central, regional and local levels, including their respective mandates, roles, responsibilities, required competencies, and, where relevant, organizational structures and accountability structures., including but not limited to contracted and private bar lawyers providing legal aid; lawyers’ professional associations; administrative and management staff within the Coordination Centre for Legal Aid Provision, 23 regional legal aid centers, 96 local legal aid centers, 432 legal aid bureaus, and 5 communication-resource platforms (legal clubs PRAVOKATOR); civil society and non-governmental organizations providing legal support/advice (primary and secondary) and those advocating on behalf of vulnerable citizens; local self-government bodies; and the Ukrainian population overall (in particular vulnerable groups eligible for state-funded legal aid in both criminal, civil and administrative proceedings, including both primary and secondary legal aid services).
Furthermore, special attention was paid to analyzing and assessing the impact of the new Law of Ukraine “On Prevention and Combatting Domestic Violence”. The new law, effective January 2018, introduced amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Free Legal Aid” by further expanding the list of categories of people entitled to free secondary legal aid. More specifically, the new law granted free legal aid to all children under the age of 18 (until recently only orphans, children deprived of parental care, children in difficult living conditions and children who have suffered from hostilities or armed conflict were eligible for free legal aid) and persons who have suffered from domestic violence or gender-based violence. It is estimated that as a result of the new Law, the total number of people eligible for free legal aid increased by approximately 8 million people.
The Overview has continued to serve as a reliable resource for relevant internal and external system stakeholders for understanding the complexities of the legal aid system in Ukraine, including specific information on how the system functions and how it is structured in terms of the legal-normative and policy frameworks governing the operations of the system.
Full version of the Overview is available here.