The National Register of Legal Aid contains a list of attorneys, supposed to provide legal services to the clients. The attorney has to file an application, approved by the local Attorney Council (Bar Council) for inscribing in the National Register of Legal Aid. The National Register of Legal Aid shall be published on Internet.
The NLAB is exclusively competent for the decision upon applications for legal assistance in the pre-trial stage.
The order and conditions for providing legal aid on penal, civil and administrative cases before all judicial institutions are regulated in the Legal Aid Act from 2006. Legal aid is provided only to natural persons who meet the requirements envisaged by the Law. The purpose of the Act is to guarantee equal access to justice by ensuring and provision of effective legal aid carried out by attorneys and funded by the State.
Types of Legal Aid
- consultation in view of achieving an agreement before initiation of court proceedings or fling a case;
- preparation of documents for filing a case;
- litigation in event of detainment under Art. 63, Para 1 under the Law of the Ministry of Interior.
The legal services for the citizens of the European Union or for legally staying persons in a Member State of EU provided in international disputes upon civil and trade cases cover also the following expenses directly connected with the international nature of dispute:
- for interpreting;
- for translation of documents, required by the court or by another competent body;
- travel expenses when obligatory attendance of witnesses at the court session is required.
The legal aid is organized by the National Legal Aid Bureau /NLAB/ and the attorney's councils. NLAB maintains a National Register of the attorneys, nominated to provide legal services in accordance with the court regions of the respective district courts. This Register is public. It is constituted on paper and electronic devices and is publicized on the Internet.
Legal services being consultation or preparation of documents for filing a case are provided to the following types of persons:
- to persons under the conditions for receiving social support under the Regulations of Application of the Act on Social Support;
- to persons lodged in specialized institutions of providing social support;
- to adopting families or to families, relatives or close persons, where a child is lodged under the order of the Child Protection Act.
Legal services in international disputes upon civil and trade cases before all judicial institutions are be provided to the citizens of the European Union or to legally staying persons in a Member State of EU if their property status does not exceed the social level under the conditions for receiving monthly social support of Bulgarian citizens.
Legal aid is provided for all types of penal, civil and administrative cases, except for trade cases and tax cases under Tax and Social Insurance Procedure Code.
For requesting provision of legal services by procedure representation there is no specified obligatory form. This request should be addressed by the respective party to the court where the legal procedure is pendent. The request may be formulated as a free text. The person should specify that he/she cannot afford to pay the expenses for the case as well as to declare his/her incomes, employment status, property status, family status, possibly his/her health status and any other circumstances, which could ground the request of legal aid.
When filing a request for legal aid Bulgarian citizens should submit the following documents:
- declaration for family and property status;
- evidences for the amount of received labour remuneration or incomes from other activity by profession, performed by the applicant and by the members of his/her family;
- documents certifying the presence of an illness or disability in case the applicant is afflicted with them;
- other documents certifying the circumstances claimed in the request for legal aid.
The same documents above-mentioned have to be submitted to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice when citizens of the European Union or legally staying persons in a Member State of EU apply for all types of legal aid. The application for providing legal aid as well as the documents evidencing that the applicant meets the requirements for its provision must be translated in Bulgarian or in other official language of the institutions of the European Community, which language Republic of Bulgaria has stated as acceptable before the European Commission. It is not necessary these documents to be legalized.
For requesting provision of legal services by legal consultation or preparation of documents for filing a case, Bulgarian citizens submit also evidences that they are in the cases under Art. 21, items 1 and 2 under the Legal Aid Act, namely:
- an order of the director of Social Support Directorate in residence for granting monthly social support. If the person has not exercised his/her right of receiving monthly social support under the Regulations of Application of the Social Support Act he/she submits to NLAB a document issued by the director of Social Support Directorate certifying he/she fulfil the conditions for granting monthly social support;
- court decision for lodging a child in adopting family or
- a document certifying lodging in specialized institution for providing social support.
In these cases the decision for providing legal aid is made by the President of NLAB within 14-day period after submission of: order for granting the monthly social support, court decision for lodging the child in adopting family or certificate from Social Support Directorate. The request for providing legal aid should be submitted to NLAB. The refusal of providing legal aid is announced to the applicant and it can be subject to appeal under the Administrative Procedure Code.
How the attorney is chosen?
The court decision or the NLAB President's act of providing legal aid is sent immediately to the respective attorney council for nomination of an attorney from the National Register of Legal Aid. If possible the attorney council nominates an attorney, specified by the person to whom legal aid is provided.
What expenses are borne according to the Legal Aid Act?
Legal aid includes providing free of charge attorney defence. If the litigant is out of funds and he/she cannot pay the fees and expences due in the proceedings, he/she can file an application before the court where the case is pendent for fees and expences exemption. In case of fees and expences exempting, these are covered by the funds envisaged in the court's budget.
For further information and downloading documents, please visit the internet site of European Judicial Atlas:
- National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria
- President of R. Bulgaria
- Council of Ministers of R. Bulgaria
- Ministry of Justice
- Supreme Judicial Council
- Constitutional Court of R. Bulgaria
- Supreme Court of Cassation
- Supreme Administrative Court
- Procecutor General of R. Bulgaria
- Gateway to Lex.bg (bg)
- Courts (bg)
- Procecutors Offices (bg)
- Investigation Services (bg)
- ЕUROPEAN UNION
- СOUNCIL OF EUROPE
- СOURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES IN LUXEMBOURG
- ЕUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN STRASBOURG
- International Court Of Justice
- Amnesty International