Frequently Asked Questions – Beneficiaries

09/14/2016 | 13:00

•What is pro bono legal aid?
In the case of pro bono legal aid you as a client do not pay the fees of the lawyers assisting you.

• What is The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights?
The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights is a clearinghouse through which the Equality and Human Rights Action Centre (ACTEDO) connects individuals whose rights have been violated and human rights NGOs working with these people, on the one hand, with lawyers who desire to offer their services pro bono (free of charge), on the other hand, with the purpose of facilitating the access to justice of these people.

• How does The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights functions?
ACTEDO receives requests for legal aid from potential beneficiaries through the legal aid form on The Pro Bono Network’s website. ACTEDO evaluates the cases, making sure all eligibility criteria are met, and then sends the description of the eligible cases to the Pro Bono Lawyers (the lawyers who have enrolled in The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights).

• What do I have to do to receive pro bono legal aid? 
Any individual or NGO who wants to receive pro bono legal aid can fill in the legal aid form on the present website, by following the rules and instructions stated there. After you have sent the request, ACTEDO will confirm receiving it and contact you for further details, if it is necessary. Afterwards, ACTEDO will carry out an initial evaluation of the case to establish whether it is eligible for legal aid through The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights, and will inform you if the conclusion.

• What are the eligibility criteria for pro bono legal aid?
A case is considered eligible if it fulfills all of the following criteria:
– the applicant or, in the case of NGOs, the individual on whose behalf the request is made, belongs to one of the following vulnerable groups: Roma, people with disabilities, people suffering from HIV/AIDS, victims of domestic violence, victims of sexual and gender-based violence, LGBTI (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, intersex), young people pver 18 who have left state care, women, families with over two children or one-parent families at risk, children and elderly at risk, former detainees, homeless people, people affected by chronic or professional illnesses, refugees and asylum seekers;
– the case refers to discrimination or to a violation of a fundamental right. The following situation of human rights violations will be given priority: discrimination regardless of the ground, gender-based violence (sexual violence, domestic violence, harassment, etc.), violations of the rights of people with disabilities, forced evictions, abuses against children, legal protection of refugees. The cases belonging to other areas will be treated according to the availability of our resources;
– the case has reasonable chances to receiving a favorable solution.

• What happens if my case is eligible, do I receive immediate pro bono legal aid?
Not necessarily. Once your case is declared eligible, ACTEDO sends its description to the Pro Bono Lawyers, who will communicate their availability and willingness to take up the case. Once a lawyer volunteers for your case, ACTEDO will provide you with the lawyer’s contact details so that you can get in touch with him/ her. We would like to remind you that The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights is based on the voluntary involvement of lawyers, so we cannot guarantee that all eligible cases will receive legal aid. However, in our experience this almost never happens.

• Can I choose a lawyer from The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights?
ACTEDO is responsible to provide you with a lawyer, and this is done once at least one lawyer has shown interest in your case. If several lawyers desire to take up your case, the selection will be done according to who is nearest to your place of residence and who can allot more time to your case, In exceptional situation, the beneficiary might be permitted to choose his/ her lawyer.

• With whom do I close the pro bono legal aid contract? 
The contract is signed between you, the beneficiary, and the Pro Bono Lawyer who has volunteered to take your case. ACTEDO is not a party to the contract, our role is merely to facilitate the contact between beneficiaries and lawyers.

• What expense do I have to cover?
Even though the legal aid is free of charge, you might have to cover other costs as, for example, copying of documents, translations, fax, phone calls, court expense, notary fees, etc. ACTEDO will cover the transportation of the lawyer to the court, according to available resources. The lawyer has the role to inform his/ her client of all the possible expense at the beginning of his/ her collaboration with the beneficiary.

• How can ACTEDO help me throught my case?
Apart from putting you in contact with a Pro Bono Lawyer, ACTEDO monitors your relationship with the lawyer. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need support in any aspect of your collaboration with the Pro Bono Lawyer.

• I want to promote my case in online and offline media. What rules do I have to follow?
All public communication about your case must contain a reference to the Equality and Human Rights Action Centre (ACTEDO) and The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights, through whom pro bono legal aid was made possible.