If the Draft law on provision of free legal assistance is adopted in the Parliament of BiH, in accordance with the proposal the following categories of population will be allowed to exercise this right: an individual who receives social aid, child in accordance with the Convention of the rights of children, an individual who is deprived of working capacity and a mentally ill individual, a retiree whose pension is lower than the average wage in BiH, an unemployed individual without regular income, a victim of domestic violence or gender-based violence, an asylum seeker, an individual under a temporary protection, a persecuted individual, a stateless individual and a victim of human trafficking.
Moreover, free legal assistance will also be allowed to an indigent individual, when the circumstances are determined by the pertinent body for provision of free legal assistance.
“An indigent individual is a person whose total monthly income per member of household does not exceed the amount of 40 percent of average net wage paid in the previous fiscal year at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” this Draft law specifies.
This law was forwarded to the parliamentary procedure by the Council of Ministers of BiH and it specifies the opening of a Department for provision of free legal assistance.
“Department is an internal organizational unit within the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the very Minister of Justice of BiH is responsible for the management of the Department. The number of employees and internal organization and systematization of workplaces in the Department are defined with regulations brought by the Minister of Justice, with consent from the Council of Ministers of BiH, within 30 days from the day this law enters into force,” the law states among other things.
The adoption and application of this law do not require amendments to the existing provisions. Given that Brčko District of BiH, Republika Srpska and a larger number of cantons brought their own laws on the establishment of the system of free legal assistance, which do not oppose the provisions of this law, the FBiH must make its own provisions, as well as the cantons in the FBiH that have not done that already.
UNDP also provided great support regarding the establishment of free legal assistance in BiH. They renovated office spaces in entities and cantons, procured the necessary equipment, organized education for providers of free legal assistance, and demonstrated support and assistance in implementation of this law through the signed memorandum with the Ministry of Justice of BiH.