By September 1, the process of forming civil society working groups to be involved in holding a competition for the position of Director of the Coordinating Centre for Legal Aid Provision should come to an end. These are to ensure the objectivity of the competition. This is the main direction of work of the coalition on the progressive development of the free legal aid system, according to Andrii Stelmashchuk, President of Ukrainian Bar Association, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
“As members of the coalition, we have developed our proposals on the principles of selection of the head of the Coordinating Center, identified criteria for those who enter the competition […], and on behalf of public proposed members to the civil society working groups,” added Andrii Stelmashchuk. The coalition proposed Olha Lopushanska, a representative of the Ukrainian Bar Association, Oleksandr Baidyk, deputy chairman of the Board of the “All-Ukrainian Union of lawyers providing free legal aid” NGO, Oleksandr Zaslavskyi, deputy chairman of the Laboratory of Legal Initiatives, and Tamila Tasheva, Coordinator of the civic initiative “Crimea-SOS”.
“The system is actually built on the principle that all people coming into it as heads of particular offices or even occupying the positions of integrators or communicators are selected on the basis of competition,” said Larysa Denysenko, advocate, head of Open civil platform for the development of free legal aid.
The results of the previous competition for the position of the Director of the Coordinating Center were canceled upon the claim of the activists. “Ministry of Justice of Ukraine initially conducted a so-called formal raid on the system, trying to appoint the Director of the Coordinating Center while holding no competition at all,” said Larysa Denysenko. She added that due to the pressure coming from the public organizations, the contest was eventually held, but its results were not objective. “The competition was false in its essence, the principles of conducting such a competition were violated, the criteria were not defined, and moreover there was a conflict of interests present,” – added Ms. Denysenko.
More than 300 thousand citizens have received assistance within the framework of the free legal aid system.