Legal aid

National Bureau for Legal Aid

Access to legal aid

Victims of trafficking are entitled to representation by a lawyer to defend their rights and interests, to inform them about their role in the case and to present their point of view during criminal proceedings. Legal aid may be used for civil or other proceedings to seek compensation for damage.

Legal aid may be two types – initial and regular.

Initial legal aid

Initial legal aid is accorded automatically to victims as of the time the victim is identified. It includes advice on initiating a case and preparation of documents to file a case.

An application for initial legal aid is submitted to the National Bureau for Legal Aid. The application form is available here.

Regular legal aid

Regular legal aid includes appointment of an ex officio lawyer who represents the victim in the pre-trial proceedings before the investigative authorities and in the trial before the court.

Victims are entitled to free legal aid only if they cooperate in the criminal prosecution. In addition, to obtain a free lawyer, victims need to prove that they cannot afford a lawyer (low income).

An application for the appointment of an ex officio lawyer for the victim is submitted to the district prosecutor’s office or the district court depending on the stage of the criminal proceedings (pre-trial or trial). The application form is available here.

Child victims of trafficking

In case of child victims of trafficking, the parent (guardian/trustee) accompanies the child and submits an application for the appointment of an ex officio lawyer on the child’s behalf. If the parent is involved in the trafficking of the child, the court assigns a special representative (lawyer) to defend the child’s rights and interests in the criminal proceedings.