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Law on Legal Aid

Number:11/2017/QH14

Status:Effective

Effective:01/01/2018

THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

No. 11/2017/QH14

 

THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Independence - Freedom - Happiness

LAW

On Legal Aid

Pursuant to the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam;

The National Assembly promulgates the Law on Legal Aid.

Chapter I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. Scope of regulation

This Law prescribes legal aid beneficiaries; legal aid-providing organizations; legal aid-providing persons; legal aid activities; and responsibilities of agencies, organizations and individuals for legal aid activities.

Article 2. Legal aid

Legal aid means the provision of “pro bono” legal services to legal aid beneficiaries in legal aid cases or matters in accordance with this Law, contributing to guaranteeing humans’ and citizens’ right of access to justice and equality before law.

Article 3. Principles of legal aid activities

1. Observing law and rules of professional conduct on legal aid.

2. Ensuring promptness, independence, honesty and respect for objective truth.

3. Properly protecting lawful rights and interests of legal aid beneficiaries.

4. Refraining from collecting money, material benefits or other benefits from legal aid beneficiaries.

Article 4. State policies on legal aid

1. It is the State’s responsibility to provide legal aid.

2. The State shall adopt policies to guarantee the right to receive legal aid in conformity with socio-economic conditions.

3. The State shall adopt policies to improve the quality of legal aid and attract resources for the provision of legal aid.

4. The State shall support, encourage, recognize and glorify agencies, organizations and individuals that participate in or make contributions to legal aid activities.

Article 5. Financial sources for legal aid activities

1. Financial sources for legal aid activities include state budget funds, contributions and donations of domestic and overseas organizations and individuals, and other lawful sources.

2. State budget funds shall be included in annual state budget estimates of agencies performing the state management of legal aid in accordance with the law on the state budget.

For localities that fail to balance their budget funds by themselves, additional transfers to their annual budget funds shall be used to support the settlement of complicated and typical legal aid cases or matters.

3. Organizations that voluntarily provide legal aid shall self-finance expenses for such provision.

Article 6. Prohibited acts in legal aid activities

1. Legal aid-providing organizations and persons are prohibited from committing the following acts:

a/ Infringing upon the dignity, honor or lawful rights and interests of legal aid beneficiaries; practicing discrimination against legal aid beneficiaries;

b/ Receiving or demanding money, material benefits or other benefits from legal aid beneficiaries; harassing legal aid beneficiaries;

c/ Disclosing information on legal aid cases or matters or legal aid beneficiaries, unless it is so consented in writing by legal aid beneficiaries or otherwise provided for by law;

d/ Refusing or discontinuing the provision of legal aid, except cases prescribed in this Law and procedural law;

dd/ Abusing legal aid activities for self-seeking purposes, infringing upon the national defense and security, disturbing social order and safety, or adversely affecting social morality;

e/ Inciting or instigating legal aid beneficiaries to provide untruthful information and documents or to lodge complaints or denunciations or initiate lawsuits in contravention of law.

2. Legal aid beneficiaries, and agencies, organizations and individuals involved in legal aid activities are prohibited from:

a/ Infringing upon the health, life, dignity or honor of legal aid-providing persons and the reputation of legal aid-providing organizations;

b/ Intentionally providing untruthful information and documents on legal aid cases or matters;

c/ Threatening, obstructing or unlawfully intervening in legal aid activities; causing disturbance or disorder or seriously violating the internal regulations at places of provision of legal aid.

Chapter II

LEGAL AID BENEFICIARIES AND THEIR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS

Article 7. Legal aid beneficiaries

1. People with meritorious service to the revolution.

2. Members of poor households.

3. Children.

4. Ethnic minority people residing in areas with extremely difficult socio-economic conditions.

5. The accused who are aged between full 16 years and under 18 years.

6. The accused who are members of households living just above the poverty line.

7. People experiencing financial difficulties who fall into one of the following cases:

a/ Natural parents, spouses or children of fallen heroes or persons nurturing fallen heroes during their childhood;

b/ Agent orange victims;

c/ The elderly;

d/ People with disabilities;

dd/ Victims in criminal cases who are aged between full 16 years and under 18 years;

e/ Victims of domestic violence cases or matters;

g/ Victims of human trafficking under the Law on Human Trafficking Prevention and Combat;

h/ HIV-infected people.

The Government shall detail financial-difficulty conditions of legal aid beneficiaries prescribed in this Clause in conformity with socio-economic conditions.

Article 8. Rights of legal aid beneficiaries

1. To receive legal aid without having to pay money, material benefits or other benefits.

2. To request legal aid by themselves or via their relatives, agencies or persons with proceedings-conducting competence, or other agencies, organizations and individuals.

3. To be informed of the right to receive legal aid and the order and procedures for legal aid upon appearing at legal aid-providing organizations and related state agencies.

4. To request confidentiality of contents of legal aid cases or matters.

5. To select a local legal aid-providing organization or person on the announced list; to request the replacement of a legal aid-providing person who falls into one of the cases referred to in Clauses 1 and 2, Article 25 of this Law.

6. To modify or withdraw legal aid requests.

7. To be entitled to damages in accordance with law.

8. To lodge complaints or denunciations about legal aid in accordance with this Law and other relevant laws.

Article 9. Obligations of legal aid beneficiaries

1. To supply papers proving their eligibility for legal aid.

2. To coordinate and promptly and fully provide information, documents and evidences related to legal aid cases or matters and take responsibility for the accuracy of such information, documents and evidences.

3. To respect legal aid-providing organizations and persons and other agencies, organizations and individuals involved in legal aid cases or matters.

4. To refrain from requesting other legal aid-providing organizations to provide legal aid for the case or matter currently accepted and settled by a legal aid-providing organization.

5. To comply with the law on legal aid and internal regulations at places of provision of legal aid.

Chapter III

LEGAL AID-PROVIDING ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS

Article 10. Legal aid-providing organizations

1. Legal aid-providing organizations include state legal aid centers and organizations participating in legal aid provision.

2. Provincial-level Justice Departments shall publicize the lists of legal aid-providing organizations in their localities, post these lists on their websites and send them to the Ministry of Justice for summarization and posting on its portal.

Article 11. State legal aid centers

1. State legal aid centers are public non-business units attached to provincial-level Justice Departments, which are established by provincial-level People’s Committees and have the legal person status, their own seals, head offices and bank accounts.

2. State legal aid centers may establish their branches.

Branches are dependent units of state legal aid centers, which are established in rural districts of areas with extremely difficult socio-economic conditions and inconvenient transport to state legal aid centers and without law-practicing organizations or legal counseling organizations participating in legal aid provision. State legal aid centers shall take responsibility for all operations of their branches. Based on the demands and practical conditions of localities, chairpersons of provincial-level People’s Committees shall decide to establish branches of state legal aid centers.

3. The Government shall detail the organization and operation of state legal aid centers and their branches.

Article 12. Organizations participating in legal aid provision

1. Organizations participating in legal aid provision include organizations signing legal aid contracts and organizations registering to participate in legal aid provision.

2. Organizations signing legal aid contracts include law-practicing organizations and legal counseling organizations that sign legal aid contracts with provincial-level Justice Departments in accordance with this Law.

3. Organizations registering to participate in legal aid provision include law-practicing organizations and legal counseling organizations that register to participate in legal aid provision in accordance with this Law.

Article 13. Rights and obligations of legal aid-providing organizations

1. A legal aid-providing organization has the following rights and obligations:

a/ To provide legal aid;

b/ To request concerned agencies and organizations to coordinate and provide information and documents on legal aid cases or matters;

c/ To pay compensation for damage caused by fault of its employees during the course of providing legal aid;

d/ To implement the regulations on statistics, reporting and communication regarding legal aid;

dd/ To settle complaints in accordance with Clause 2, Article 45 of this Law;

e/ To make recommendations on matters related to settlement of legal aid cases or matters to competent state agencies.

2. A state legal aid center has the following rights and obligations:

a/ The rights and obligations prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article;

b/ To perform other tasks as authorized or requested by competent state management agencies in charge of legal aid.

3. An organization signing a legal aid contract has the following rights and obligations:

a/ The rights and obligations prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article;

b/ To receive remunerations and expenses for settlement of legal aid cases or matters under the Government’s regulations;

c/ Other rights and obligations under the legal aid contract.

4. An organization registering to participate in legal aid provision has the following rights and obligations:

a/ The rights and obligations prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article;

b/ To provide legal aid as registered.

Article 14. Legal aid contracts

1. A legal aid contract shall be signed between a provincial-level Justice Department and a law-practicing organization or legal counseling organization, or between a state legal aid center and a lawyer or legal aid collaborator, on provision of legal aid in accordance with the civil law.

2. Based on the legal aid demands and practical conditions of a locality, the provincial-level Justice Department shall select, and sign a legal aid contract with, an organization that wishes to provide legal aid and fully meets the following conditions:

a/ Registering operation in the fields relevant to the fields of legal aid as prescribed in this Law;

b/ Being a law-practicing organization or a legal counseling organization that has at least 1 legal counselor with at least 2 years’ experience in legal counseling or has 1 full-time lawyer;

c/ Having physical facilities for legal aid activities;

d/ Not currently executing a decision on sanctioning of administrative violations in law practice or legal counseling.

3. Based on the demands and resources for legal aid in a locality, a state legal aid center shall select, and sign a legal aid contract with, a lawyer who fully meets the following conditions:

a/ Not currently executing a decision on sanctioning of administrative violations in law practice;

b/ Not being prohibited from practicing occupations or restricted from performing professional activities under a competent agency’s decision;

c/ Not being currently examined for penal liability;

d/ Being approved in writing by the law-practicing organization where he/she works or by the agency or organization with which he/she signs a labor contract.

4. State legal aid centers shall select, and sign legal aid contracts with, legal aid collaborators in accordance with Article 24 of this Law.

5. Organizations and individuals that commit the prohibited acts prescribed in Clause 1, Article 6 of this Law shall not be selected for signing legal aid contracts for at least 2 years from the date a conclusion on their violations is made.

6. The Minister of Justice shall detail this Article.

Article 15. Registration for participation in legal aid provision

1. Law-practicing organizations and legal counseling organizations that voluntarily provide legal aid with their own resources may register to participate in legal aid provision if they are:

a/ Law-practicing organizations that fully meet the conditions specified at Points a, c and d, Clause 2, Article 14 of this Law;

b/ Legal counseling organizations that fully meet the conditions specified at Points a, c and d, Clause 2, Article 14 of this Law, and have at least 1 legal counselor with at least 2 years’ experience in legal counseling or have 1 full-time lawyer.

2. Law-practicing organizations and legal counseling organizations participating in legal aid provision shall make registration in terms of the scope, forms, fields and beneficiaries of legal aid with the provincial-level Justice Department that has granted the operation registration certificate.

3. The Minister of Justice shall prescribe the order and procedures for registration for participation in legal aid provision.

Article 16. Termination of provision of legal aid by organizations participating in legal aid provision

1. An organization signing a legal aid contract shall terminate provision of legal aid when falling into one of the following cases:

a/ No longer meeting one of the conditions for signing a legal aid contract prescribed in Clause 2, Article 14 of this Law;

b/ Terminating provision of legal aid under the legal aid contract;

c/ Providing legal aid causing serious consequences;

d/ Terminating operation in accordance with law.

2. An organization registering to participate in legal aid provision shall terminate provision of legal aid when falling into one of the following cases:

a/ No longer meeting one of the conditions for registering to participate in legal aid provision prescribed in Clause 1, Article 15 of this Law;

b/ Terminating at its own will its participation in legal aid provision after notifying thereof in writing to the provincial-level Justice Department with which it has registered for participation in legal aid provision;

c/ Having not provided legal aid for 2 consecutive years, except cases of objective causes;

d/ Providing legal aid causing serious consequences;

dd/ Terminating its operation in accordance with law.

3. When terminating provision of legal aid, an organization participating in legal aid provision shall notify in writing such termination to the provincial-level Justice Department and transfer the file of the case or matter not yet completed to the legal aid-providing organization assigned by the provincial-level Justice Department for further processing.

Chapter IV

LEGAL AID-PROVIDING PERSONS AND RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF LEGAL AID-PROVIDING PERSONS

Article 17. Legal aid-providing persons

1. Legal aid-providing persons include:

a/ Legal aid officers;

b/ Lawyers providing legal aid under contracts signed with state legal aid centers; and lawyers providing legal aid as assigned by organizations participating in legal aid provision;

c/ Legal counselors with at least 2 years’ experience in legal counseling in organizations participating in legal aid provision;

d/ Legal aid collaborators.

2. Provincial-level Justice Departments shall publicize lists of legal aid-providing persons in their localities, post these lists on their websites and send them to the Ministry of Justice for summarization and posting on its portal.

Article 18. Rights and obligations of legal aid-providing persons

1. A legal aid-providing person has the following rights and obligations:

a/ To provide legal aid;

b/ To be guaranteed to independently provide legal aid without being threatened, obstructed or illegally intervened;

c/ To refuse or discontinue the provision of legal aid in the cases prescribed in Clauses 1 and 2, Article 25, and Clause 1, Article 37, of this Law and in accordance with the procedural law;

d/ To be trained and retrained in legal aid knowledge and skills;

dd/ To ensure the quality of legal aid cases or matters;

e/ To abide by the principles of providing legal aid;

g/ To strictly observe internal regulations at places of provision of legal aid;

h/ To pay compensations or refund an amount of money paid by the legal aid-providing organization to the sufferer of damage caused by his/her fault during the course of providing legal aid in accordance with law.

2. A legal aid officer has the following rights and obligations:

a/ The rights and obligations prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article;

b/ To attend training courses on improvement of compulsory professional knowledge and skills on legal aid;

c/ To perform other tasks as assigned;

d/ To enjoy regimes and policies in accordance with law.

3. Lawyers and legal aid collaborators who sign legal aid contracts with state legal aid centers are entitled to remunerations and expenses for performance of legal aid cases or matters in accordance with law.

4. The Government shall detail Point d, Clause 2, and Clause 3, of this Article.

Article 19. Criteria for legal aid officers

A Vietnamese citizen being a public employee of a state legal aid center may become a legal aid officer when fully meeting the following criteria:

1. Having good moral qualities;

2. Possessing a bachelor’s or higher degree in law;

3. Having been trained in lawyer profession or being exempted from lawyer training; having undergone law practice or legal aid probation;

4. Being physically fit for providing legal aid;

5. Not being currently disciplined.

Article 20. Legal aid probation

1. Public employees of state legal aid centers who possess a lawyer training graduation certificate or are entitled to lawyer training exemption in accordance with the Law on Lawyers may take legal aid probation at state legal aid centers.

The legal aid probation lasts 12 months. The state legal aid center shall assign a legal aid officer to instruct a legal aid probationer, and certify legal aid probation. The legal aid officer in charge of instructing probation must have at least 3 years’ experience in working as a legal aid officer. At a time, 1 legal aid officer may not instruct more than 2 probationers.

2. Legal aid probationers may assist their instructing legal aid officers in professional activities but may not represent, defend or protect lawful rights and interests for legal aid beneficiaries at court hearings, and may not sign documents on legal counseling.

Legal aid probationers may, together with legal aid officers in charge of instructing probation, meet legal aid beneficiaries and other persons involved in legal aid cases or matters when so consented by such persons; help legal aid officers study files of cases or matters, collect documents, objects and circumstances relating to cases or matters, and perform other professional activities. Legal aid officers in charge of instructing probation shall supervise, and take responsibility for activities of, legal aid probationers prescribed in this Clause.

3. Persons who are entitled to exemption from or reduction of law practice probation duration under the Law on Lawyers shall also be entitled to legal aid probation duration exemption or reduction.

4. The Minister of Justice shall detail legal aid probation, examination of legal aid probation results, and form of the certificate of examination of legal aid probation results.

Article 21. Appointment of legal aid officers and grant of legal aid officer’s cards

1. The director of a state legal aid center shall make a list of persons working at the center who fully meet the criteria prescribed in Article 19 of this Law, and send the list to the provincial-level Justice Department to request appointment of legal aid officers and grant of legal aid officer’s cards. Within 5 working days after receiving the list, the director of the provincial-level Justice Department shall make a dossier and submit it to the chairperson of the provincial-level People’s Committee.

2. A dossier of request for appointment of a legal aid officer must comprise:

a/ A written request for appointment of a legal aid officer, made by the director of the provincial-level Justice Department;

b/ A resume of the person to be appointed as a legal aid officer;

c/ Two 2 cm x 3 cm color portrait photos;

d/ A certified copy of the diploma of university degree in law, master’s degree in law or doctoral degree in law;

dd/ A certified copy of the certificate on examination of law practice probation results or the certificate on examination of legal aid probation results; or a certified copy of the paper proving that the to-be-appointed legal aid officer is exempted from legal aid probation, for persons entitled to exemption from legal aid probation;

e/ A health certificate.

3. A person who has been removed from office or has his/her legal aid officer’s card revoked under Point a, c or e, Clause 1, Article 22 of this Law shall be considered for appointment as a legal aid officer and grant of a legal aid officer’s card when fully meeting the criteria for legal aid officers prescribed in this Law and when the reason for removal from office or card revocation no longer exists.

4. Within 15 days after receiving the dossier, the chairperson of the provincial-level People’s Committee shall consider, and decide to appoint a legal aid officer and grant a legal aid officer’s card; in case of refusal, he/she shall issue a written reply, clearly stating the reason.

Article 22. Removal from office of legal aid officers and revocation of legal aid officer’s cards

1. A legal aid officer shall be removed from office and have his/her legal aid officer’s card revoked if falling into one of the following cases:

a/ He/she no longer satisfies all the criteria for being a legal aid officer as prescribed in Article 19 of this Law;

b/ He/she has been dismissed from his/her job as a disciplinary form;

c/ He/she is transferred to another job or leaves the job in his/her wish;

d/ He/she has not participated in legal proceedings for 2 consecutive years, except cases of objective causes;

dd/ He/she has been subjected to warning as a disciplinary form for the second time on, or dismissed for commission of the act specified at Point a, b, dd or e, Clause 1, Article 6 of this Law;

e/ He/she is prohibited from professional practice for a certain period of time under a competent agency’s decision.

2. The director of a provincial-level Justice Department shall make a dossier and submit it to the chairperson of the provincial-level People’s Committee for the latter to decide on the removal from office and revocation of legal aid officer’s cards for persons falling into one of the cases specified in Clause 1 of this Article.

3. A dossier of request for removal from office of a legal aid officer and revocation of a legal aid officer’s card must comprise:

a/ A written request, made by the director of a provincial-level Justice Department, for removal from office of a legal aid officer and revocation of a legal aid officer’s card;

b/ Papers and documents proving the concerned legal aid officer falling into one of the cases specified in Clause 1 of this Article.

4. Within 15 days after receiving the dossier, the chairperson of the provincial-level People’s Committee shall issue a decision on removal from office of a legal aid officer and revocation of a legal aid officer’s card.

Article 23. Re-grant of a legal aid officer’s card

1. A person who possesses a legal aid officer’s card shall be re-granted such card in case it is lost or damaged.

2. A requester for re-grant of a legal aid officer’s card shall send a written request to the director of the state legal aid center concerned. After receiving the written request, the director of the state legal aid center shall make a dossier and submit it to the director of the provincial-level Justice Department.

3. A dossier of request for re-grant of a legal aid officer’s card must comprise:

a/ A written request for re-grant of a legal aid officer’s card;

b/ Two 2 cm x 3 cm color portrait photos;

c/ The damaged legal aid officer’s card or a written certification of the director of the state legal aid center in case the card is lost.

4. Within 3 working days after receiving the dossier, the director of the provincial-level Justice Department shall submit it to the chairperson of the provincial-level People’s Committee for issuing a decision to re-grant a legal aid officer’s card.

5. Within 5 working days after receiving the dossier, the chairperson of the provincial-level People’s Committee shall issue a decision to re-grant a legal aid officer’s card.

Article 24. Legal aid collaborators

1. In areas with extremely difficult socio-economic conditions, based on the people’s legal aid demands and the local practical situation, the directors of state legal aid centers shall propose the directors of the provincial-level Justice Departments to grant legal aid collaborator’s cards for persons who fully satisfy the conditions specified in Clause 2 of this Article.

2. Retirees who have full civil act capacity and good moral qualities, are physically fit and wish to provide legal aid may become legal aid collaborators, including legal aid officers; judges or court evaluators; procurators or procuracy controllers; investigators; enforcers or civil judgment enforcement evaluators; and specialists in charge of legal affairs in state agencies.

3. The directors of state legal aid centers shall sign legal aid contracts with holders of legal aid collaborator’s cards for providing legal counseling in localities.

The directors of state legal aid centers shall propose the directors of provincial-level Justice Departments to revoke legal aid collaborator’s cards if such collaborators have not provided legal aid for 2 consecutive years, except cases of objective causes.

4. The Government shall detail the participation of collaborators in legal aid provision.

Article 25. Cases of discontinuation or refusal of the provision of legal aid

1. A legal aid-providing person may not continue the provision of legal aid when falling into one of the following cases:

a/ He/she commits the prohibited acts prescribed in Clause 1, Article 6 of this Law, unless he/she has completely executed the violation handling measure and is allowed to provide legal aid under this Law;

b/ He/she has his/her legal aid officer’s card, legal aid collaborator’s card, law practice certificate, or legal counselor’s card revoked;

c/ He/she is forbidden from participating in legal proceedings under the procedural law.

2. A legal aid-providing person must refuse the provision of legal aid when falling into one of the following cases:

a/ He/she has provided or is providing legal aid to legal aid beneficiaries that are parties with conflicting interests in the same case or matter, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties for the case or matter on legal counseling or representation beyond legal proceedings in the field of civil affairs;

b/ There are grounds to believe that he/she is possibly biased during the process of providing legal aid;

c/ There are reasons to believe that he/she is incapable of effectively providing legal aid, which may affect lawful rights and interests of the legal aid beneficiary.

3. Legal aid-providing organizations shall notify in writing clearly stating the reason to the legal aid beneficiaries and appoint other persons to provide legal aid in the cases specified in Clauses 1 and 2 of this Article.

Chapter V

SCOPE, FIELDS, FORMS AND ACTIVITIES OF LEGAL AID PROVISION

Article 26. Scope of legal aid provision

1. A state legal aid center shall provide legal aid in one of the following cases:

a/ A legal aid beneficiary is residing in the locality;

b/ A legal aid case or matter occurs in the locality;

c/ A legal aid case or matter is requested by the central-level competent agency in charge of legal aid.

2. Organizations that sign legal aid contracts shall provide legal aid within the scope of such contracts.

3. Organizations that register to participate in legal aid provision shall provide legal aid within the registered scope.

Article 27. Fields and forms of legal aid provision

1. Legal aid shall be provided in law-related fields, except the fields of trade and commerce.

2. Forms of legal aid provision include:

a/ Participation in legal proceedings;

b/ Legal counseling;

c/ Representation beyond legal proceedings.

Article 28. Places for reception of legal aid beneficiaries

1. Legal aid-providing organizations shall arrange places for the reception of legal aid beneficiaries at their head offices or other places outside their head offices which are convenient for legal aid beneficiaries to express their requests.

2. At the head offices of legal aid-providing organizations, the timetables for and internal rules on reception of legal aid beneficiaries shall be posted up.

Article 29. Legal aid requests

1. A requester for legal aid shall submit a dossier to a legal aid-providing organization, which must comprise:

a/ A written request for legal aid;

b/ Papers proving his/her eligibility for legal aid;

c/ Papers and documents related to the legal aid case or matter.

2. The submission of a dossier of request for legal aid is prescribed as follows:

a/ In case the dossier is submitted directly at the head office of a legal aid-providing organization, a requester for legal aid shall submit the papers and documents specified at Points a and c, Clause 1 of this Article, produce the originals or submit the certified copies of the papers proving his/her eligibility for legal aid.

In case the requester cannot write a request by himself/herself, the person who receives the written request shall fill in the request form, give it to the requester for him/her to read or read it to the requester and ask him/her to sign or press his/her fingerprint on the filled-in request form;

b/ In case the dossier is sent by post, a requester for legal aid shall submit the papers and documents specified at Points a and c, Clause 1 of this Article, and submit the certified copies of the papers proving his/her eligibility for legal aid;

c/ In case the dossier is sent by fax or online, a requester for legal aid shall, when meeting a legal aid-providing person, produce the originals or submit the certified copies of the papers proving his/her eligibility for legal aid.

Article 30. Acceptance of legal aid cases or matters

1. A legal aid request shall only be accepted when arises a specific case or matter directly related to the lawful rights and interests of legal aid beneficiaries as specified in Article 7 and in accordance with this Law.

2. A person who receives a legal aid request shall check the contents related to such request and promptly give a reply on whether the dossier is satisfactory or needs to be supplemented.

3. A legal aid-providing organization shall refuse the acceptance of a legal aid case or matter and clearly state the reason in writing to the legal aid requester in one of the following cases:

a/ The legal aid request fails to comply with Clause 1 of this Article;

b/ The legal aid request has unlawful contents;

c/ The legal aid beneficiary has died;

d/ The legal aid case or matter is being accepted and settled by another legal aid-providing organization.

4. In case a legal aid requester cannot submit the complete dossier specified in Clause 1, Article 29 of this Law, but needs immediate legal aid because the statute of limitations for initiating a lawsuit is about to expire and the trial is about to take place, the proceedings-conducting agency shall transfer the legal aid request to a legal aid-providing organization or, to avoid damage to the lawful rights and interests of the legal aid beneficiary, a person who receives the legal aid request shall immediately report it to the head of the legal aid-providing organization for accepting the case or matter, and concurrently guide the legal aid beneficiary to supplement necessary papers and documents.

Article 31. Participation in legal proceedings

1. Legal aid officers and lawyers who provide legal aid shall participate in legal proceedings as defense counsels or defenders of lawful rights and interests of legal aid beneficiaries under this Law and the procedural law.

2. Within 3 working days after accepting a legal aid case or matter, the legal aid-providing organization shall appoint its officer to provide legal aid at the request of a legal aid beneficiary.

In case the legal aid beneficiary being an arrestee or detainee requests appointment of a legal aid officer, within 12 hours from the time of accepting the request, the legal aid-providing organization shall appoint its officer to provide legal aid.

3. Within 12 hours after receiving a legal aid request from an arrestee or a detainee, or within 24 hours after receiving a legal aid request from the accused, defendant or victim being a legal aid beneficiary under the procedural law, an agency or a person competent to conduct legal proceedings shall notify such to the state legal aid center in the locality. Right after receiving the notice, the state legal aid center shall accept the case or matter under Clause 4, Article 30 of this Law and appoint its legal aid officer to participate in legal proceedings.

4. The appointment of persons to participate in legal proceedings shall be expressed in a document to be sent to the legal aid beneficiary and concerned proceedings-conducting agency.

Article 32. Legal counseling

1. Legal aid-providing persons shall provide legal counseling to legal aid beneficiaries by giving instructions or opinions to or helping the latter draft documents related to legal disputes, complaints and problems; and help the parties conciliate, negotiate and reach agreement on the settlement of cases or matters.

2. Within 10 days after accepting a case or matter or receiving all additional papers and documents, the legal aid-providing person shall study the case or matter and issue a written reply to the legal aid beneficiary; for complicated cases or matters or those requiring more time for verification, this time limit may be longer but must not exceed 30 days, unless otherwise agreed upon with the legal aid beneficiary.

For legal aid requests being simple legal problems, the request-receiving persons shall immediately give instructions and answers and provide legal information to legal aid beneficiaries.

Article 33. Representation beyond legal proceedings

1. Legal aid officers and lawyers providing legal aid shall act as representatives beyond legal proceedings for legal aid beneficiaries before competent state agencies.

2. Within 3 working days after accepting a legal aid case or matter, the legal aid-providing organization shall appoint its representative beyond legal proceedings for the legal aid beneficiary.

The appointment of representatives beyond legal proceedings shall be expressed in a document to be sent to legal aid beneficiaries.

Article 34. Coordination in verifying legal aid cases or matters

1. When it is necessary to verify details and facts related to a legal aid case or matter in another locality, the legal aid-providing organization which has accepted such case or matter shall request the legal aid-providing organization in the locality where the verification is required to coordinate in the verification. A verification request shall be expressed in writing, clearly stating the verification contents and the deadline for reply.

2. The legal aid-providing organization which is requested for verification shall carry out the verification within 10 days after receiving the request and send a notice of the verification results, enclosed with relevant papers and documents, to the requesting legal aid-providing organization; if unable to verify the contents as requested, it shall issue a written reply, clearly stating the reason.

3. The verification requests, notices of verification results and relevant papers and documents shall be kept in files of legal aid cases or matters.

Article 35. Transfer of legal aid requests

1. In case a legal aid request fails to satisfy the conditions prescribed at Points a and b, Clause 1, Article 26 of this Law, a state legal aid center shall transfer the request to a competent state legal aid center and notify such to the legal aid requester.

2. If having insufficient resources for providing legal aid, the organization participating in legal aid provision shall transfer the legal aid request to the state legal aid center in the locality and notify such to the legal aid requester.

Article 36. Making proposals in legal aid activities

1. During the provision of legal aid, legal aid-providing organizations shall send to competent state agencies written proposals on issues related to the settlement of legal aid cases or matters.

2. Within 30 days after receiving a proposal, the agency receiving such proposal shall, within the ambit of its tasks and powers, issue a written reply; for a plausible reason, this time limit may be longer but must not exceed 45 days, unless otherwise prescribed by law.

3. Past the time limit prescribed in Clause 2 of this Article, if the proposal-receiving agency fails to issue a reply, the legal aid-providing organization may propose the superior agency of the proposal-receiving agency for consideration and settlement.

Article 37. Discontinuation of settlement of legal aid cases or matters

1. A legal aid case or matter shall be discontinued if falling into one of the following cases:

a/ The case of refusal prescribed in Clause 3, Article 30 of this Law;

b/ The legal aid beneficiary commits one of the prohibited acts specified in Clause 2, Article 6 of this Law;

c/ The legal aid beneficiary withdraws his/her legal aid request.

2. If discontinuing the provision of legal aid, the legal aid-providing organization or legal aid-providing person shall issue a written reply, clearly stating the reason to the legal aid beneficiary.

3. In case a legal aid case or matter is being settled but the legal aid beneficiary no longer satisfies the conditions specified in Article 7 of this Law, such case or matter shall continue to be settled to the end.

Article 38. Files of legal aid cases or matters

1. When providing legal aid, legal aid-providing organizations or legal aid-providing persons shall make files of legal aid cases or matters.

2. Files of a legal aid case or matter include:

a/ The papers and documents specified in Clause 1, Article 29 of this Law;

b/ Relevant documents and papers and legal aid results;

c/ Other papers and documents (if any).

Article 39. Archive of files of legal aid cases or matters

1. Within 30 days after finishing a legal aid case or matter, the legal aid-providing person shall hand over files of such case or matter to the legal aid-providing organization.

2. Papers and documents in files of legal aid cases or matters shall be compiled into statistics, marked with ordinal numbers, chronologically arranged and archived in accordance with law.

3. E-files of each legal aid case or matter shall be digitalized and updated into the legal aid case or matter management system and archived in the legal aid database.

Chapter VI

RESPONSIBILITIES OF AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS IN LEGAL AID ACTIVITIES

Article 40. State management responsibility for legal aid

1. The Government shall perform unified state management of legal aid.

2. The Ministry of Justice shall act as the focal point to assist the Government in performing the state management of legal aid, and has the following tasks and powers:

a/ To formulate, promulgate, or submit to competent state agencies for promulgation, legal documents on legal aid;

b/ To formulate, promulgate, or submit to competent state agencies for promulgation, and organize the implementation of, legal aid development strategies and plans;

c/ To promulgate regulations providing professional guidance and forms of papers in legal aid activities; and criteria for determination of complicated and typical legal aid cases or matters; and implement reporting and statistical regimes on legal aid;

d/ To guide, organize and monitor the implementation of legal documents on legal aid;

dd/ To organize the training and retraining in professional knowledge and skills for legal aid-providing persons;

e/ To organize public communication on legal aid and quality appraisal and assessment of legal aid cases or matters;

g/ To inspect and examine the implementation of legal aid activities; to commend, discipline, and handle violations in legal aid activities;

h/ To receive supports and contributions for legal aid activities from organizations and individuals;

i/ To perform international cooperation on legal aid.

3. Ministries and ministerial-level agencies shall, within the ambit of their tasks and powers, coordinate with the Ministry of Justice in performing the state management and organizing the provision of legal aid.

4. Provincial-level People’s Committees shall, within the ambit of their tasks and powers, perform the state management on legal aid in their localities; and ensure working conditions for state legal aid centers.

Article 41. Responsibilities of agencies involved in legal aid activities in legal proceedings

1. The Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuracy, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of National Defense shall organize the implementation of this Law among their attached agencies.

2. Proceedings-conducting agencies shall, within the ambit of their tasks and powers, coordinate with and help legal aid beneficiaries enjoy their right to legal aid, and create conditions for legal aid-providing persons to participate in legal proceedings in accordance with law.

Article 42. Responsibilities of related state agencies

In the course of handling and settling citizen-related cases or matters, if a citizen is eligible for provision of legal aid, state agencies shall explain his/her right to legal aid provision and introduce him/her to legal aid-providing organizations.

Article 43. Responsibilities of socio-professional organizations of lawyers

1. The Vietnam Law Federation shall coordinate with the Ministry of Justice in managing and supervising the provision of legal aid by law-practicing organizations and lawyers in accordance with this Law.

2. Provincial-level bar associations shall coordinate with provincial-level Justice Departments in managing and supervising the provision of legal aid by law-practicing organizations and lawyers in accordance with this Law.

Article 44. Responsibilities of managing organizations of legal counseling organizations

Managing organizations of legal counseling organizations shall coordinate with competent state management agencies in charge of legal aid in managing and supervising the provision of legal aid by legal counseling organizations and legal counselors in accordance with this Law.

Chapter VII

SETTLEMENT OF COMPLAINTS, DENUNCIATIONS AND DISPUTES

Article 45. Settlement of complaints and denunciations

1. Legal aid beneficiaries may lodge complaints about the following acts committed by legal aid-providing organizations or legal aid-providing persons when having grounds to believe that such acts are illegal and infringe upon their lawful rights and interests:

a/ Refusing to accept legal aid cases or matters;

b/ Failing to provide legal aid;

c/ Illegally providing legal aid;

d/ Illegally replacing legal aid-providing persons.

2. Heads of legal aid-providing organizations shall settle complaints about the acts defined in Clause 1 of this Article within 3 working days after receiving a complaint. In case the complainant disagrees with the complaint settlement decision of the head of the legal aid-providing organization or, past the time limit for complaint settlement, if the complaint is not settled, the complainant may further lodge his/her complaint to the director of the provincial-level Justice Department concerned.

The director of a provincial-level Justice Department shall settle a complaint within 15 days after receiving it. The complaint settlement decision of the director of the provincial-level Justice Department takes effect for implementation. In case the complainant disagrees with this decision or, past the time limit for complaint settlement, if the complaint is not settled, the complainant may initiate a lawsuit at the court.

3. Organizations and individuals may lodge their complaints or initiate lawsuits about disciplining decisions, administrative sanctioning decisions and other administrative decisions and acts in legal aid activities in accordance with the law or complaints and other relevant laws.

4. Individuals may denounce violations of this Law to competent state agencies. Denunciations and settlement of denunciations must comply with the law on denunciations.

Article 46. Settlement of disputes

1. Disputes between legal aid beneficiaries and legal aid officers, legal counselors, legal aid collaborators, state legal aid centers, or legal counseling organizations which are related to the provision of legal aid shall be settled in accordance with the civil law.

2. Disputes between legal aid beneficiaries and lawyers or law-practicing organizations which are related to the provision of legal aid shall be settled in accordance with the law on lawyers and other relevant laws.

Chapter VIII

IMPLEMENTATION PROVISIONS

Article 47. Effect

1. This Law takes effect on January 1, 2018.

2. Law No. 69/2006/QH11 on Legal Aid ceases to be effective on the effective date of this Law.

Article 48. Transitional provisions

1. From the effective date of this Law, persons who had been appointed as legal aid officers under Law No. 69/2006/QH11 on Legal Aid may continue their operation in accordance with this Law; after 5 years from the date this Law takes effect, persons appointed as legal aid officers who have no lawyer training graduation certificates shall have their legal aid officer’s card revoked.

2. Within 1 year from the effective date of this Law, organizations and persons participating in legal aid provision specified in Law No. 69/2006/QH11 on Legal Aid must satisfy the requirements of this Law; otherwise, they must terminate their participation in legal aid provision and shall transfer files of legal aid cases or matters they are processing to state legal aid centers in localities where they have registered participation for further settlement.

3. Legal aid cases or matters being settled under Law No. 69/2006/QH11 on Legal Aid which have not been completed by the effective date of this Law must still comply with Law No. 69/2006/QH11 on Legal Aid until they are completed.

4. Within 1 year since the date this Law takes effect, provincial-level People’s Committees shall review operation of state legal aid centers’ branches established in localities and shall, based on legal aid demands and resources and operation effectiveness of these branches, report to the Ministry of Justice for consideration the maintenance, merger or dissolution of such branches.

This Law was passed on June 20, 2017, by the XIVth National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam at its 3rd session.-

  

Chairwoman of the National Assembly
NGUYEN THI KIM NGAN

Law on Legal Aid

Number 11/2017/QH14
Type of document Law
Promulgator
National Assembly
Field
Civil
Signer
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan
Published 20/06/2017
Effective 01/01/2018
Status Effective

THE SUPREME PEOPLE'S COURT
of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

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Phone: 024.62741133
Email: banbientap@toaan.gov.vn, tatc@toaan.gov.vn.
Executive Editor: Tran Van Thu, Director General, International Cooperation Department, SPC.

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