Meeting on free legal aid on the 21 of October 2015

On the 21 of October 2015, Civil Rights Project Sisak took part in the meeting on free legal aid which was held at the Ministry of Justice. Along the associations who provide free legal aid and the leader of the Legal Clinic in Zagreb, the meeting was attended by Marina Lochert Šoštarić, Head of Financial Management and Quality Assurance of the Government Office for Associations.

The main topic of the meeting was financing in the year of 2016. Civil society organizations
pointed out that the resources for providing primary legal aid in the year of 2016 must be provided in a bigger amount.  Namely, the year of 2015 also proved the fact that the law on free legal aid is inapplicable in practice while also showing that the intended funds were insufficient in ensuring the availability of legal aid to all beneficiaries on equal terms.

The Representatives of the Ministry of Justice pointed out that there will be no increase in funding in the year of 2016 and that the funds will be distributed by taking into account the process of networking. Marina Lochert Šoštarić drew attention to
the purpose of the Law on Legal Aid which is ensuring the availability of the service to all beneficiaries on equal terms therefore the process of networking should not be emphasized as such.

Also, Marina Lochert Šoštarić stated that, for the purposes of providing primary legal aid, there is a necessity to ensure institutional support for the reason of maintaining the continuity of free legal aid provision and availability of the same under equal conditions, according to the purpose of the law.

The conclusion of all present stakeholders was that it is necessary to hold a meeting with all relevant stakeholders who could contribute to the development of providing of free legal
aid such as the National Foundation for Civil Society Development.

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