Поводом првог Закона о бесплатној правној помоћи (2018)
This paper analyzes the first Law on Free Legal Aid in Serbia (ZBP). A key feature of the legal aid system in Serbia is an inadequate regulatory framework and lack of efficiency. In the Republic of Serbia, the right to free legal aid has been constitutionalized by the Constitution since 2006 and regulated in more detail by other regulations. However, the enforcement of a special law, which should harmonize the legal framework and establish an effective institutional mechanism, was lacking, and the ensuing conflict, that last for several years, in which advocacy and civil society struggled over the title of the main protagonist of a legal aid provider, postponed its adoption. As a consequence, the realization of the proclaimed constitutional citizens’ right to equal access to justice was seriously jeopardized.
The law adopted by the National Assembly in November 2018 is based on a subsidized state model of free legal aid and a mixed scheme of legal aid providers. The law completely regulates the system of free legal aid, starting from the social component of this right. Apart from the broad availability for different categories of population, secondary and primary legal assistance were also anticipated. A novelty in the le gal system is the obligation for the units of local self-government to form legal aid services. In accordance with the mixed concept of legal aid, the administration authority grants legal aid, and municipal servic es can collectively organize a service with other providers. The Minis try of Justice carries out supervision and quality control of the provision of legal assistance.
The adoption of the ZBP initiated the process of reforming the system of free legal aid. However, apart from inherited problems, it is expected that there would be numerous difficulties in its implementa tion. Some of the solutions are not adapted to domestic circumstances, and it is particularly inadequate that the key role in the legal aid system is entrusted to local self-government. Such a concept is more appropri ate in countries with a high degree of decentralization, financial capa bilities and the level of expertise.