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Enhancing the quality of Legal Aid: Common Standards for Different Countries

Project website: http://qualaid.vgtpt.lt/en

The Lithuanian Law Institute, as the main project coordinator, together with partners from Lithuania, Germany and the Netherlands, is implementing the project "Enhancing the quality of Legal Aid: Common Standards for Different Countries".

The purpose of this project is to establish minimum standards for lawyers practise or/and legal aid, suitable for application in all European Union (EU) states. Additionally, project goal is to establish a methodology for monitoring compliance with these standards, suitable for use in all EU countries. In order to improve the quality of legal services, common standards are created for providing legal assistance and quality assurance, enhancing the capacity of legal aid policy makers, administrators and service providers to ensure high quality legal assistance.

So far, there has been no attempt by the EU to harmonize the legal aid systems being applied in different EU countries. Different rules for obtaining legal aid may hinder the establishment of minimum EU standards for access to a lawyer and other procedural rights in the EU criminal justice area. The right to legal assistance is one of the fundamental human rights that ensures the right to an effective justice and a fair trial for all persons, including those who cannot afford legal representation or litigation costs.

The project "Enhancing the quality of Legal Aid: Common Standards for Different Countries" provides a comprehensive assessment and compares three different legal aid schemes in partner countries. In particular, the needs and expectations of interested parties (beneficiaries, administrators, suppliers, members of the criminal justice system) are assessed as legal aid. It will also assess the best international practice, which will also allow a comprehensive package of recommendations for policymakers to be developed to improve the quality of legal aid.

The project will provide training programs for legal assistance to policy makers, legal aid administrators and legal aid providers. Trainings will be organized in Lithuania, Germany and the Netherlands.

The project is funded by the European Commission, its duration is 2017.01 - 2019.01. Project partners: J.W. Goethe's University in Frankfurt am Main, Legal Aid Board of the Netherlands, Lithuanian Bar Association, State Guaranteed Legal Aid Service of Lithuania.