Rights of Individuals in Socially Protected Sections of the Population to the Receipt of Free Qualified Legal Assistance

When discussing the problem of the ineffectiveness of the judiciary system, the mass media and the public usually name such reasons as corruption, insufficient financing of courts, imperfection of legislation, and others. At the same time, they forget that one of the aspects of this problem is the fact that not all citizens have the possibility to protect their rights in the court or to go to court. Rarely do pensioners win legal trials on housing disputes and claims of incorrect computation of pensions. These are the most complicated disputes, which require a qualified lawyer during the course of filing of a statement of claim and during the process itself. However, such lawyers are not affordable for the majority of the population, and there is no the system for the provision of free legal assistance in civil cases as stipulated by Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan; and although there are legislation and institutes for the securing of the human right to qualified legal assistance, there is no mechanism for its implementation.

To implement this constitutional provision, it is necessary to adopt an individual Law “On Provision of Free Qualified Legal Assistance” which would establish certain standards with regard to the allocation of budgetary funds to the advocates, since currently, legal assistance is not reimbursed on time due to the imperfection of the legislation.

It is necessary to give attention to the provision of free qualified legal assistance to needy citizens, and first of all in rural localities. This was stated by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the 4th Congress of Judges. In this regard, it is necessary to support the idea of the creation of Centers for Legal Consultations (CLC) in all regions and the cities of Astana and Almaty. This will not require the adoption of a special law. Its implementation is possible with an enactment of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Resolution of this problem is the responsibility of the Committee of Registration Service and Legal Assistance to the Population of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, since according to the Provision it is in charge of implementation and supervision in the field of the organization and provision of legal assistance to the population. So, it is possible to indicate in the Provision that the main function of the Center is the provision of qualified legal assistance to the population by advocates working for legal consulting offices of the region (city) or district, and to stipulate that the government, per agreement, should pay for free legal assistance, transferring the sum from the government budget to the legal consulting offices which would account for the allocated money.

In addition, based upon the experience of Lithuania in the provision of the legal assistance to needy citizens, we recommend that the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan establish special departments for free legal assistance in the departments of justice of the districts and cities of Astana and Almaty, which would conclude agreements with the advocates for the provision of free legal assistance to socially vulnerable sections of the population. It is necessary to stipulate the budget financing of free qualified legal assistance, the procedure for the provision of legal assistance to socially vulnerable sections of the population, and the monitoring of the provided assistance in the Law “On Provision of Free Qualified Legal Assistance.”