ACCESS TO JUSTICE – Free Legal Aid
Free legal aid is approved and financed by the state to vulnerable categories of citizens who due to lack of finances cannot themselves solve the legal problems they are facing.
Free legal aid can be primary and secondary.
The right to primary legal aid is afforded to every physical entity with a permanent residence or a dwelling on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia.
This type of legal aid consists of providing:
- General legal information,
- General legal advice,
- Assistance with filling in forms,
- Assistance with submitting requests for secondary legal aid,
- Writing petitions to the Commission for Protection against Discrimination and to the Ombudsperson.
Primary legal aid is provided by the Ministry of Justice, authorized associations and legal clinics.
Secondary legal aid is approved to a person requiring professional legal aid from lawyers for specific legal matters who is unable to pay for the procedure expenses due to the financial situation and whose request is justified.
If secondary legal aid is approved then:
- The designated lawyer is authorized to offer secondary legal aid,
- The beneficiary is exempted from court taxes and expenses related to the procedure before the court pursuant to the law,
- The beneficiary is exempted from administrative taxes,
- The beneficiary is exempted from expertise expenses.
Secondary legal aid can be received in all civil procedures, in administrative procedures and administrative disputes, with the exception of customs and tax issues, slander and defamation, compensation for non-material damages, public and communal services, property issues, violations and in cases when the legal aid expenses are disproportionally higher in comparison to the value of the dispute.
The person requesting secondary legal aid has to meet the following criteria:
- The monthly income of the person living alone and requesting secondary legal aid should not exceed the minimum net salary.
- The monthly income of the person living in a shared household with family members and requesting secondary legal aid should not exceed the minimum net salary, while the monthly income of every next family member should not exceed the amount of 20% of the minimum salary.
The person requesting secondary legal aid together with his family members should own:
- Only one single building or an apartment in which they live.
- One or more physically connected plots with a total area of 300m2 in Skopje,
- One or more physically connected plots with a total area of 500m2 in other municipalities outside of Skopje.
- One or more (physically connected) plots with a total area not exceeding 5000 m2 in rural areas
- Only one registered motor vehicle up to 1200 cubic centimeters.
If the court or the other judicial bodies determine short deadlines, not longer than 15 days, for acting in the specific legal matter, then the person requesting the legal aid is obliged to submit the request the same day or not later than two days from the day he/she was informed about the deadline!