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On the Quality of Non-Governmental Legal Aid

17 October 2012 

Source: (info)

· Saratov region  · Human rights defenders

On 15 October 2012 in Saratov an inter-regional conference was held on the ‘System of Non-Governmental Legal Aid: Standards for Civil Society Organizations.’ More than 50 participants took part in the conference from 12 cities of the Volga and Southern federal districts. 

At the plenary session Daniil Evdokimenko, aide to the Chair of the Commission on Social and Innovation Programmes of the Association of Lawyers of Russia told about the research and practical work the Association is doing to develop and introduce standards of free legal aid.

Thereafter Maria Kanevskaya, director of the NGO Human Rights Resource Centre, told the conference about the main approaches to develeoping a strategy for provision of free legal aid by NGOs.

After the break, Elena Tsarenkova, chair of the NGO Society and Law, told the conference about the implementation in practice of the law ‘On Free Legal Aid’. Tsarenkova also talked about the weak aspects of this piece of legislation.

Next, Elena Khoroshunova, chair of the NGO Overcoming shared the experience of her organization in providing free legal services to the public in Volgograd region.

Maria Larkova, a teacher at the Saratov State Academy of Law, head of a legal clinic, in her turn spoke about the practices of legal clinics in providing legal services to the public.

Aleksandr Nikitin, a lawyer witsh the Saratov Solidarity Human Rights Center touched what is perhaps the most topical issue, that of oversight of the quality of legal advice offered. Nikitin explained how it is possible to bring a complaint regarding the provision of legal advice of poor quality.

Further, participants in a session of the Club of NGO Lawyers set about developing standards (service strategy) for the provision of free legal advice by NGOs.

The service strategies worked out at the sessions of the Club of NGO Lawyers will form the basis of standards for the provision of free legal advice by NGOs.

At the end of the session, Temur Kobaliya, a lawyer from the Human Rights Resource Centre, told participants about how NGOs can use administrative regulations to protect the interests of their target groups. Participants discussed the creation of mechanisms to oversee compliance with regulations, the accountability of officials for violations, and also indicators for the quality and accessibility of services. In addition, Temur Kobaliya explained how NGOs can play a role in the development of administrative regulations.