Russia Adapts the Model of the Finnish Legal Aid System

In: Review of Central and East European Law
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In this article, the author discusses the recent experiences of cooperation between the Ministry of Justice of Finland and the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation and the Federal Registry Service regarding the development of a free state legal aid system in Russia. These experiences stem from a pilot project initiated and implemented by the Ministry of Justice in the Russian Federation and associated with the Ministry of Justice of Finland during 2006-2007. The article first addresses the key laws within the Russian legislative system concerning legal aid that had been enacted prior to and during the pilot project, and presents the authorities that are responsible for the provision of legal aid services in Russia. Secondly, it presents some preliminary descriptive results obtained by the year 2006 on the socio-demographic profile of users of the legal aid system that was established for piloting in Russia and on the legal cases addressed during the project. The examples provided in the article are particularly based on the statistics of the State Bureau of Legal Aid of the Republic of Karelia—one of the pilot regions. The article also discusses the experiences of the Finnish experts who were involved in the project and addresses some of the specific problems that were noticed during the pilot work in the Russian legal aid system. The author concludes by identifying a number of subjects that need specific attention and practical implementation, in order to further develop the system of free state-provisioned legal aid in Russia.

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