JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED – promotion of the analysis of the functionality of mechanisms for access to justice in the RNM

On December 28, 2022, a public event was held in the premises of LET CLUB for the promotion of the publication JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED – Analysis of the functionality of the mechanisms for access to justice in the Republic of North Macedonia.

Speakers at the event were Vesna Shapkoski – executive director of STANICA P.E.T. who spoke about the background of the problem and where the need for such an analysis came from, as well as Assoc. Dr. Ivona Shushak Lozanovska, external associate of IRES Bitola and head of the Legal Clinic at UKLO Bitola, who presented the key findings and recommendations made in the analysis itself.

Conclusions and recommendations:

– The right of access to justice is a basic human right and a key condition for the realization of the rule of law principle. When it comes to equal access to justice, this concept is much broader than what we mean by justice, because equal access to justice, on the one hand, also implies the existence of regulations that take into account the needs and specific circumstances of those citizens who most often are called vulnerable or marginalized, but more importantly, it also implies their application that does not depend on the social power of those who seek protection of their rights.
– Access to effective and efficient justice and free legal aid is determined by the legal framework and by the practices of (non)implementation of the same by providers and other participants in the system of free legal aid. The new system for free legal aid, regulated by the LFLA is largely starting to function on the ground, with the Ministry of Justice, through the employees of the ministry itself and its regional departments, being one of the most significant “actors” in providing free legal aid in the territory of RNM.
– Authorized officials in the regional offices of the Ministry of Justice face great challenges. They decide on the admissibility and justification of the submitted requests, and in addition, the very provision of primary legal assistance requires a good knowledge of regulations from several areas. For those reasons, it is necessary, instead of unplanned filling of vacant jobs of a colorful nature, to emphasize the employment of law graduates with a passed bar exam who have broad knowledge of legal issues and have gained appropriate experience.
– In order to carry out their work in a timely and quality manner, regional departments should be staffed with a sufficient number of employees, with the intention of expanding the network of regional departments in all cities, because only in this way will access to justice be timely, efficient and effective.
– Effectiveness tells us to do the right things, while efficiency tells us to do things the right way. For those reasons, the number of employees per regional department, according to the current situation, should be optimized and the maximum number of executors in one regional department should be limited in accordance with predetermined criteria that will be transparent and verifiable.
In this way, work will be done to create a professional and efficient, accountable and transparent service that will provide quality services for citizens and protect their rights.

The event was attended by 30 representatives from the civil sector, local institutions and interested citizens-users of the association’s services, and it was covered by several local and national media.

*The activity was realized within the framework of the project Center for Access to Justice , which is implemented with the support of the Foundation Open society – Macedonia. The views and opinions expressed during the event are the sole responsibility of the grantee and the author of the publication and in no way can be considered to express the views of Foundation Open society – Macedonia.

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