State-guaranteed legal aid just a click away
Whereas until recently people could apply for state-guaranteed legal aid through a physical application, since June the application can also be made online using an electronic signature.
Whereas until recently people could apply for state-guaranteed legal aid through a physical application, since June the application can now also be made online using an electronic signature. In the five months since the launch of the online system, the four offices of the National Council for State Guaranteed Legal Aid (NCSGA) have received 14700 applications from both individuals and applicants from the justice system acting in the interests of citizens. Of the total number of online requests, most were from judges - 5356, followed by police - 3973 requests. CNAJGS has four territorial offices, in Chisinau, Balti, Cahul and Comrat. Lawyer Feodor Munteanu provides this type of assistance to beneficiaries in the Cantemir district, being registered at the Cahul Territorial Office of the CNAJGS. "The fact that state legal assistance can now be requested online contributes to access to qualified legal services, especially in this period of crisis caused by the new coronavirus infection", says the lawyer. Victims of domestic violence and sexual offences receive free assistance regardless of income According to the Law on State Guaranteed Legal Aid, there are two types of free legal aid: primary - which can be requested from a paralegal registered in the territorial district where the beneficiary resides, and qualified - which can be requested at one of the four territorial offices and is provided by a lawyer paid by the state. The assistance is provided by lawyers with whom the territorial offices have service contracts. Among the beneficiaries of qualified legal assistance guaranteed by the State are persons who are parties to complex contravention, civil and administrative litigation cases and do not have sufficient financial means to pay the costs of these services. Also entitled to free legal aid are child victims of crime, victims of domestic violence or victims of sexual offences, regardless of their declared annual income. On the CNAJGS website (www.cnajgs.md), under the heading "Forms", there is a model application form to be completed and signed electronically by applicants for free legal aid. Persons who do not have sufficient financial means and apply for free legal services must attach a declaration of income. After assessing the application, the employees of the territorial offices will decide whether or not the applicant will receive free legal aid. The NACJGS ensures the quality of legal aid and monitors the progress of these cases, and if the beneficiaries are not satisfied with the services of the lawyer, they can refer the matter to the Council. The online system for applying for state-guaranteed legal aid was developed with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Sweden to facilitate access to justice for people from vulnerable groups. Have your fundamental rights and freedoms been violated? Call the free "Hotline" 080080030 from landlines or mobile phones and we will help you to be heard and refer you to the relevant public institutions. Lilia Zaharia, Independent Press Association