Belgialaiset asianajajat protestoivat perustuslain vastaiseksi katsomansa oikeusapu-uudistuksen johdosta
50 euron maksu myös varattomille. Asianajajilla ei mitään varmuutta palkkiosta ja sen suuruudesta.Fair Trials International:
Belgian lawyers are protesting this Wednesday 7th February against the 2016 reform of the national legal aid system, which they say makes it more difficult for people to obtain free legal assistance.
The reform introduced an administrative fee starting at 50€ (20€ for the designation of the legal aid lawyer and 30€ for the first procedure) for any individual requesting legal aid, including those who qualify for state-provided legal assistance. The fee increases by 30€ for any appeal procedure.
“In theory, one could ask to be exempted from this fee” said Doutrepont “but in practice the procedure is cumbersome and lengthy”.
The 2016 bill also modified the criteria for granting legal aid, making it more difficult to prove one’s own needs and justify their own conditions. For instance, “a homeless person who is being hosted by a friend” said Doutrepont “will need to prove that this arrangement is only temporary and does not have an impact on their resources”.
Compensation for the work of legal aid lawyers is also problematic. According to the claimants, legal aid lawyers have no information nor assurance as to the amount of the remuneration they would be able to claim for work they have been doing since the entry into force of the reform, i.e. September 1, 2016. In the absence of a clear framework and of an adequate compensation, many lawyers decide not to take up legal aid cases anymore.
According to official reports, beneficiaries of legal aid have decreased by 30% across Belgium since the entry into force of the 2016 bill. The claimants interpret this data as evidence of the harsh limits imposed on the granting of legal aid.