In December 2016 the Legal Assistance Act was last amendmented and supplemented in order to expand the range of persons who may receive free legal aid and assistance. The right to legal counsel is a constitutional right and therefore the Republic of Bulgaria guarantees compliance with the principle of free legal aid and assistance to the categories of persons from the following risk groups listed in the act:
– persons and families who satisfy the eligibility requirements for receipt of monthly social assistance benefit according to the procedure established by Article 9 and Article 10 of the Regulations for Application of the Social Assistance Act ;
- persons and families who satisfy the eligibility requirements for assistance with a targeted heating allowance for the preceding or current heating season;
- persons placed in specialized institutions for provision of social services or using a resident-type social service or using a Mother and Baby Unit social service according to Article 36 of the Regulations for Application of the Social Assistance Act;
- children placed with foster families or with immediate or extended family members according to the procedure established by the Child Protection Act;
- a child at risk within the meaning given by the Child Protection Act;
- persons referred to in Article 144 of the Family Code and to persons who have not attained the age of 21 years, in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 of 18 December 2008 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations (OJ, L 7/1 of 10 January 2009);
- victims of domestic or sexual violence or of trafficking in human beings, who are unable to pay and wish to avail themselves of the assistance of a lawyer;
- seekers of international protection according to the procedure established by the Asylum and Refugees Act, in respect of which the granting of legal aid is not due on another legal basis;
- foreigners in respect of whom a coercive administrative measure has been applied and foreigners accommodated at a special facility for temporary accommodation of foreigners according to the procedure established by the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act, who are unable to pay and wish to avail themselves of the assistance of a lawyer;
- persons to whom the status of a stateless person in the Republic of Bulgaria have been refused or revoked or terminated proceedings for granting the status of a stateless person under the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria has been terminated, who are unable to pay and wish to avail themselves of the assistance of a lawyer.
Source of Information
The Government of Bulgaria, National Review on the Beijing +20, para. 95
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