Legal Aid

PILnet works to make systems of justice more effective, accessible and fair, in part by improving state-subsidized legal aid systems. In this effort, PILnet collaborates with key stakeholders – national and local governments and bar associations – to design context-appropriate legal aid systems and allocate resources for the provision of legal aid and legal information. PILnet also engages NGO partners in legal aid reform processes and fosters the complementarity of state, private sector and NGO efforts in this realm.

PILnet relies on a diverse set of methodologies and participatory processes to gather, analyze and disseminate data to assess current deficiencies in access to justice, highlight problems and needs and inform priorities, including undertaking comparative research studies and convening workshops and conferences. PILnet has worked particularly intensively on legal aid reform in Russia, in addition to projects in Bulgaria, Poland, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Legal Aid Worldwide (LAW) BlogDmitry Shabelnikov

  • Legal Empowerment and International Development

    Stephen Golub coined the term "legal empowerment" back in 2001 and has been the key promoter of the concept since then. A renowned scholar and international expert in the field of justice and rule of law, he has been a long-time PILnet partner. Read more

  • Russian Legal Aid Bill Signed into Law

    On 23 November 2011, Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, signed into law a bill entitled On Legal Aid in the Russian Federation, which had been in the works for about two years. The law concerns civil legal aid only, with criminal legal aid traditionally administered by the Russian bar. Read more

Legal Aid News

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  • 21 November 2016

    2016 European Pro Bono Awards legal aid

    On November 17, PILnet announced the recipients of this year’s European Pro Bono Awards in a ceremony held as part of the 10th Annual European Pro Bono Forum. Reed Smith received the Exemplary Partnership in the Public Interest Award for its work with Greek NGO METAdrasi, the Romanian NGO ACTEDO received the Award for Local Pro Bono Impact, and Intigam Aliyev received the newly established European Publico Award. Read more

Featured Resources

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  • Report

    Civil Legal Aid in the Western Balkans: Achievements, Opportunities and Risks legal aid, balkans

    Dan Manning, 2012. This report was prepared on behalf of a network of legal services NGOs in the Western Balkans, known as the Ohrid Initiative for Free Legal Aid. The purpose of the report is to call attention to achievements of legal aid organizations, opportunities to create stable institutions promoting legal empowerment, and the risk that the investments already made will be lost. This report is the outcome of an exploratory visit to Kosovo made by the author Dan Manning and PILnet's Dmitry Shabelnikov in the spring of 2012. Read more

  • Book

    World's Models of Legal Aid for Criminal Cases: What Can Russia Borrow? russia, legal aid

    Elena Burmitskaya, Lambert Academic Publishing What are the main objectives and priorities for reforming the Russian system of state-funded criminal legal aid, and can the best international models in this field be adapted for Russia? This English language book--available here in an abbreviated form--provides an analysis of various models of state-funded criminal legal aid around the world and identifies best practices for application in the Russian context.  Read more