State-guaranteed legal aid may now be accessed instantly, just in few clicks. As of June 2020, the appointment of an ex officio lawyer may be requested online, by filling in a form and signing it electronically. The new procedure saves time and effort and removes hard copies from the workflow. The system launched amid COVID-19 pandemic, releases applicants from extra travels and therefore reduces the exposure.
The e-tool is supporting the work of police officers, criminal investigation officers, prosecutors and judges, as well as people eligible for the services of a state-paid lawyer. The system was developed by the National Legal Aid Council (NLAC), with the support of UNDP and Sweden.
So, applications for an ex-officio lawyer are reviewed twice as quickly.
In the Republic of Moldova, state-guaranteed legal aid is provided annually to over 60,000 women and men. Persons who are part of criminal, civil, administrative, or judicial review proceedings, but who do not have sufficient means to pay for such a service, or who have been detained as part of a criminal trial or administrative proceedings may benefit from the services of a lawyer paid by the state. State-guaranteed legal aid is also provided to children who are victims of crime, but also to adult victims of domestic violence or sexual offenses. Free legal aid (primary or qualified) may be obtained by contacting a paralegal in the area where the person lives or by requesting aid from one of the four Territorial Offices of the National Legal aid Council. As from June, this type of assistance can also be requested online, using the electronic signature (details on www.cnajgs.md).
Increasing access to justice for people from vulnerable groups - such as victims of gender based violence or people with disabilities - is also one of the objectives of the Strengthening Efficiency and Access to Justice Project, implemented by UNDP and funded by Sweden, in partnership with two non-governmental organizations - INVENTO and the Institute for Penal Reform.
The implementing partners will contribute to increasing the coordination and cooperation among the key actors in the justice sector in the four project intervention regions (Soroca, Criuleni, Cimislia and Comrat). Dialogue platforms will be set up to identify solutions to problems related to effectiveness and access to justice for the local population. As well, within the project, training sessions will be organized for justice professionals in Soroca, Criuleni, Cimislia and Comrat districts,
Similarly, capacity development activities will be conducted for four non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the intervention regions, so that they can effectively participate in a constructive dialogue with the justice chain actors and proactively engage in claiming the rights of litigants. Partner NGOs will then become a source of information and expertise for the local authorities as well as for the men and women in the target communities.