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Reform Support

Supporting reforms to reinforce efficient and high quality public administrations.

Strengthening access to justice through broadening the recourse of mediation and legal aid

In addressing the key issue of strengthening access to justice through broadening the recourse of mediation and legal aid as well as improving the efficiency of courts, Latvia’s Ministry of Justice has completed a 21-months project financed by the European Union through the Structural Reform Support Programme and implemented by the Council of Europe European Commission for the efficiency of justice (CEPEJ), in cooperation with the European Commission.

In particular, the outcomes of the project are threefold:

  1. Firstly, it will enhance the efficiency and quality of judicial services with a specific focus on court management through the development of key performance indicators and an ICT strategy;
  2. Secondly, it will facilitate access to legal aid above all for more vulnerable people through analysis of the existing framework and recommendations for its improvement;
  3. Finally, it will broaden the recourse to mediation through expert analysis of the current state of play and the provision of specific recommendations and the organisation of awareness raising events.

More specifically, as part of the project, 18 events were organised under the first pillar on improving the organisation and functioning of the judiciary to which more than 300 people participated. Pilots were organised to test the provision of legal aid and recourse of mediation. In this context, despite the constraints posed by the pandemic, more than 600 legal aid consultations and 146 mediation consultations were provided in the course of two months. This shows the importance of such services and the related high demand.

The pilots were used as basis to provide specific recommendations to Latvian authorities to improve their system and further enhance access to justice for all.

The project was formally concluded in June 2021 and a press release of the closing event is available here (in Latvian).