Over 2,500 people receive free legal aid in the Serbian region of Vojvodina thanks to a Catalan Ombudsman program



Of the 2,522 persons who have received the service, 2,211 have done so through the Legal Advice Services (in 2008-2009) and 311 through the In-court Representation Service (only in 2009). In both cases, the largest group served was made up of women, the majority of whom were unemployed.

The project, being conducted in 14 municipalities of Vojvodina, had its roots in a pilot project carried out in the city of Nis in 2003. In recent years, free legal aid has been extended to other municipalities of Vojvodina and other places in Serbia, such as Novi Beograd, the largest district of the nation's capital, Belgrade. Thanks to the project, Vojvodina has a comprehensive free legal aid system, and has proven the viability of an initiative that could work throughout Serbia. The right to equal access to justice is a requisite for access to the European Union.

Financing for the project comes through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation, the Vojvodina Executive Council (regional government), participating local councils and the Catalan Ombudsman institution itself. The results of the project have been presented in a press conference, among others, by Deputy Ombudsman Laura Díez, in the seat of the Vojvodina Executive Council, in Novi Sad.