Free legal aid

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Adoption of the Free Legal Aid Act enabled the provision of professional legal aid to the socially and economically disadvantaged category of citizens for the purpose of effective exercise of legal protection and access to courts and other public authorities under equal conditions.

The institutional framework of the free legal aid system comprises, on the one hand, the counties and the City of Zagreb, the remit of which includes the performance of delegated state administration functions relating to the provision of free legal aid and decisions on applications for secondary legal aid in the first instance, and the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration on the other hand, as the second instance body deciding on appeals against the decisions of the first instance bodies. 
  
Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration performs other professional and administrative functions relating to the implementation of the Free Legal Aid Act: decides in the first instance on the registration of associations and higher education institutions in the Register of Free Legal Aid Providers, maintains the Register of Free Legal Aid Providers, decides on granting legal aid in cross-border disputes, conducts administrative supervision of the work of administrative bodies of the counties or the City of Zagreb relating to the legality of the implementation of the Free Legal Aid Act, and conducts professional supervision of the work of primary legal aid providers.

The Free Legal Aid Act envisages the following free legal aid providers: 
  • administrative bodies of the counties and the City of Zagreb
  • authorised associations
  • legal clinics
  • lawyers.

Administrative bodies of the counties and of the City of Zagreb, authorised associations and legal clinics provide primary legal aid.

Lawyers provide secondary legal aid.
  
Beneficiaries of free legal aid
  
Beneficiaries of free legal aid within the meaning of the Free Legal Aid Act are:
  • Croatian citizens
  • children who are not Croatian citizens, but are found in Croatia unaccompanied by an adult responsible for them by law
  • foreigners temporarily residing in Croatia, subject to reciprocity, and foreigners permanently residing in Croatia
  • foreigners under temporary protection
  • foreigners staying illegally in Croatia and foreigners on a short-term stay in proceedings for deciding on their expulsion or leaving Croatia
  • asylum seekers, asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection along with the members of their family who are legally residing in Croatia, in proceedings in which legal aid is not provided by a special law.
 
Information on invoking the right to free legal aid
 
The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration is not authorised to provide concrete legal advice or legal aid relating to the functions from its remit.

If you have any questions about the right to free legal aid, please contact us at: besplatna.pravna.pomoc@mpu.hr.

Furthermore, you may direct your questions about the right to free legal aid directly to the administrative bodies of the counties or the City of Zagreb.