Government of the Republic of North Macedonia
The results of a survey conducted by the Republic of Macedonia indicates that every second citizen is facing a legal problem. Many citizens do not have a full comprehension of whether their issue should be legally addressed and often do not know where to turn. Research on the legal needs of certain marginalized groups (Roma, drug users, and sex workers) indicate that these citizens, due to marginalization and stigmatization, are additionally disabled in recognizing and resolving the legal problems they face. Citizens from poor and marginalized communities have difficulty gaining access to justice because of a lack of trust in institutions, insufficient information and social and economic barriers.
The government has created the “Law on Free Legal Assistance” which would provide effective access to quality, efficient and complementary community based legal services. The Ministry of Justice, and the Open Society Foundation Macedonia, will conduct a National Survey of Citizens' Legal Needs in order to develop a strategy to strengthen legal services. The strategy will be prepared by the ministry in cooperation with civil services organizations (CSOs), free legal aid providers, paralegal assistance and other legal services models. The Ministry of Justice, in partnership with CSOs will finance and maintain the existing databases and the website www.pravnozajakni.mk which contains information on all forms of legal assistance and equal access to justice for all citizens. Furthermore, in collaboration with CSOs, the Ministry will develop a methodology for assessing the capacities and quality of the free legal services provided by the regional departments, as well as a methodology for monitoring the implementation of the Law on Free Legal Assistance, as well as conducting a campaign aimed at raising awareness among citizens regarding the right to free legal assistance.