The Local Co-ordination Body to support the implementation of the Law on Free Legal Aid was established for the first time in Kumanovo. Supported by the EU and Council of Europe joint action “Towards a Consolidated and More Efficient Free Legal Aid (FLA) System in North Macedonia” in co-operation with the Regional Office of the Ministry of Justice in Kumanovo, the Local Co-ordination Body is an informal forum for sharing information, communication and co-ordination among the stakeholders on key issues concerning the implementation of the Law on Free Legal Aid in the local community. These include: promotion of the Law, access to information necessary for processing legal aid applications, referring of persons in need of legal aid, specific legal needs affecting the local community etc.
The meeting, held today at the premisses of the Municipal´s Council of Kumanovo brought together representatives of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Justice in Kumanovo, local lawyers, representatives of the CSOs, as well as representatives of the Basic court in Kumanovo, Center for Social Work, Municipality of Kumanovo, Ministry of Interior and the Ombudsman.
The newly established body will function through regular meetings as well as through direct communication, mailing groups and other forms of communication. It will be composed of representatives of stakeholders directly involved in the process as responsible for administering the legal aid system or legal aid providers, as well as other institutions and organisations who are to a lesser extent relevant for the implementation of the Law.
The European Union and the Council of Europe supported the establishment of the Local Co-ordination Bodies in different localities in North Macedonia following the example of Bitola and Stip. Such efforts will increase the capacities of this body to become entirely self-sustainable in the future beyond the end of the joint EU/CoE project. Establishment of local co-ordination bodies in other municipalities in North Macedonia will also be further encouraged and supported.
The action “Towards a Consolidated and More Efficient Free Legal Aid (FLA) System in North Macedonia” is part of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye III”, a joint European Union and Council of Europe programme implemented by the Council of Europe.