Regulations on the State Legal Aid Centers in Vietnam

What are State Legal Aid Centers? How do State Legal Aid Centers operate in Vietnam? – Thanh Vu (Gia Lai, Vietnam)


Regulations on the State Legal Aid Centers in Vietnam (Internet image)

1. What are State Legal Aid Centers?

- State legal aid centers are non-business units affiliated to the Department of Justice established by provincial People’s Committees, have legal status, their own seals, head offices and accounts.

- State legal aid centers may have branches.

Branch is an affiliate of a state legal aid center which is established in a district in a severely disadvantaged area with inadequate transportation to the state legal aid center and without law-practicing organizations or legal counseling organizations participating in legal aid services.

The State legal aid center shall be responsible for all activities of the branches.

Depending on needs and actual conditions of the province, Chairperson of the People’s Committee shall provide decisions on establishing branches of the state legal aid center.

(Article 11 of the Law on Legal Aid 2017)

2. Organization and operation of the State Legal Aid Center in Vietnam

The organization and operation of the State Legal Aid Center are specified in Article 3 of Decree 144/2017/ND-CP as follows:

- State legal aid centers (hereinafter collectively referred to as "centers") have directors, deputy directors, legal assistants, officials, and other employees. The director and deputy director of the center must be legal assistants.

- The Center's Director and the Center's Deputy Director shall be appointed, relieved of duty, or dismissed by the Director of the Department of Justice.

The Director of the Center is the head of the Center and the legal representative of the Center, responsible to the Director of the Department of Justice and to the law for all activities of the Center.

The Deputy Director of the Center is in charge of one or several areas of work assigned by the Director of the Center and is responsible to the Director of the Center for the results of the assigned work.

- The Center may have appropriate specialized divisions to perform the tasks and powers in accordance with the Law on Legal Aid and the Law on Public Non-Business Units.

3. Human resources and facilities of the State Legal Aid Center in Vietnam

- Based on the workload, nature, and characteristics of professional activities, the requirements of legal aid work in the locality, and at the proposal of the Director of the Department of Justice, the President of the People's Committee of the province shall decide on the number of people working for the Center and ensure appropriate funding, facilities, equipment, and working conditions for the Center.

- The recruitment, employment, and management of civil servants, public employees, and employees of the Center shall comply with the provisions of law on the recruitment, employment, and management of civil servants, public employees, and employees in public service units.

- Centers may use professional funds to serve the implementation of legal aid cases and legal aid professional activities in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Legal Aid.

(Article 10 of Decree 144/2017/ND-CP)

4. Criteria for appointment and dismissal of the Director of the State Legal Aid Center in Vietnam

- Legal assistants who fully meet the following criteria may be proposed to be appointed as Center Directors:

+ Having at least three years of experience as a legal aid officer, judge, or procurator, an intermediate or higher investigator, or having five years of experience working in the state management of legal aid in the judicial sector;

+ Having met the conditions and criteria for the head of a public, non-business unit under the Department of Justice as prescribed by law.

- The director of the center shall be dismissed in one of the following cases:

+ Having one of the acts specified in Clause 1 and Article 6 of the Law on Legal Aid 2017;

+ Serious violations of legal aid professional rules;

+ Being disciplined in the form of dismissal in accordance with the law on cadres and civil servants

(Article 11 of Decree 144/2017/ND-CP)

Diem My

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