22 December 2008
The Assembly of the Republic of Albania approved at a majority of votes on the 22nd December 2008 the law “On Legal Aid”, proposed by the civil society. This law was a fruit of the project organized by the Free Legal Service, Tirana, in co-operation with the Women Advocacy Center, the Albanian Helsinki Committee, Office of Citizen Protection, National Advocacy Center, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labor, the High Council of Justice, General Prosecutor’s Office upon the assistance of Soros
Foundation. The aim of the project was to:
- establish a structured system of legal aid;
- promote this system and access to justice to the people in need;
- built efficacy in legal aid and human rights protection.
The free legal aid has started operating in Albania since 1997, coming to the assistance of the population strata in need, namely the veterans, the disabled and to all those persons who have no possibilities to face the financial implications of the various justice system chains. The project implementation was divided in three phases. The first phase included a round table focusing on discussions on the new “Legal Aid” draft-law. The draft-law was written taking into account the ten-year-old Albanian practice, the hitherto approved laws, a special UNICEF report as well as the CoE recommendations. It is in the same phase that monitoring of the Judiciary Budget Administration Office, General Prosecutor’s Office and of some court took place. Study visits were also organized in Bosnia and Romania, countries that have drafted legal aid laws, and a final report was also submitted.
The second phase contained some expert round tables focusing on improvement of the draft-law, and its preparation of the final draft. The third phase contained some TV features, special radio programmes, publications of media supplements, public awareness raising and other activities. The entirety of these activities led to the approval of the law by the Assembly of Albania in December of 2008.