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01.06.2022

Funding for the payment of services and reimbursement of the costs of lawyers providing BPD has been provided

Payment for services and reimbursement of expenses of lawyers who provide free secondary legal assistance has begun. In just one day, May 30, 2022, the State Treasury Service of Ukraine transferred UAH 46.8 million.

Why did the debt arise?

Due to the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, there were changes in the budget legislation, aimed at creating conditions for timely and prompt response to the needs of financial support for measures of territorial defense, protection of public safety and functioning of the budget sphere, communal enterprises during the period of martial law.

Funding of expenses under budget program 3603030 "Payment for services and reimbursement of attorneys' expenses for providing free secondary legal assistance" was temporarily suspended. Because of this, as of the end of May 2022, there was a debt to lawyers in the amount of about UAH 60 million.

"At the same time, lawyers continued to provide free secondary legal aid services, since the introduction of martial law does not lead to restrictions on the subjects' rights to free legal aid, guaranteed by the Law of Ukraine "On Free Legal Aid." Free legal aid is provided in accordance with the procedure and if there are grounds defined by the law," said the Acting Director. Oleksandr Baranov, director of the Coordination Center for Legal Aid.

The exclusive authority of lawyers who cooperate with the BPD system is the protection of persons in criminal proceedings. Also, lawyers who cooperate with the BPD system represent the interests of vulnerable segments of the population – the poor, participants in hostilities, IDPs and other persons defined by the law "On Free Legal Aid" in civil and administrative cases.

"Thanks to this, even in this difficult time, citizens of our country have the opportunity to resolve their legal issues," says Oleksandr Baranov.

How the problem was solved

With the beginning of martial law, the exercise of powers by the State Treasury Service is regulated by Resolution No. 590 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine "On approval of the Procedure for the exercise of powers by the State Treasury Service under a special regime under martial law".

The Coordinating Center for the Provision of Legal Aid took the initiative and prepared proposals for amendments to this resolution regarding the restoration of payments for services and reimbursement of the costs of lawyers who provide free secondary legal aid during martial law.

Thus, payment for services and reimbursement of attorneys' expenses for providing free secondary legal assistance were included in Article 18 (opening of appropriations from the state budget for expenses and granting loans) and Article 19 (making payments on client orders, taking into account the resource security of a single treasury account). Thus, the opening of appropriations from the state budget and the making of payments for expenses for payment of services and reimbursement of the expenses of lawyers who provide free secondary legal assistance are carried out in the appropriate sequence – after expenses for the implementation of programs of state guarantees of medical care for the population.

As a result, on April 19, 2022, the State Treasury Service of Ukraine paid for all acts of providing free secondary legal assistance that were registered within the limits of open budget allocations. But the financing of expenditures under the budget program "Payment for services and reimbursement of attorneys' expenses for providing free secondary legal assistance" slowed down. The Coordination Center together with the Ministry of Justice repeatedly appealed to the State Treasury Service, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine regarding the opening of funding.

Partnership in time of war

According to the appropriations plan for March – May 2022, financing of payment for services and reimbursement of expenses of lawyers providing free secondary legal assistance is provided in the amount of UAH 80.9 million.

As of May 30, 46.8 million hryvnias have already been financed to pay for the acts of providing BVPD, which have already been provided by lawyers. In the coming days, the arrears that have arisen since the beginning of the war, for the payment of services and reimbursement of the costs of lawyers for the provision of free secondary legal aid, will be fully repaid.

"Lawyers are important partners of the free legal aid system. We have introduced electronic reporting, which has become even more relevant during the war, when many lawyers cannot personally submit acts to the centers for the provision of BVPD. We continue to conduct events for the training of lawyers and the improvement of their professional skills. And we are very grateful to the lawyers who, in this difficult time, fulfill their duties, providing legal aid to vulnerable categories of the population," Oleksandr Baranov said.

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