Vientiane Times, February 12, 2016
The Lao Bar Association has announced it will continue the provision of free legal aid to the general public this year after the sponsor, Asia Foundation, announced it would continue funding the project. The association made the announcement last month through various media outlets.
Under the project, people who applied with their legal problems to the association will receive free legal consultation while for people who are accused or want to make a prosecution, the association can provide a lawyer for them . Talking with Vientiane Times yesterday about the project, Lao Bar Association President Mr Khamsay Soulinthone said the association wanted people with legal problems to apply to the association to receive a free consultation. According to him, free defence lawyer services will also be provided to accused poor people or poor people who have cases to go before the court but the people should be certified by local authorities at the village level as really being poor. The office of the Lao Bar Association is at the Vientiane People’s Court in Ban Beungkhagnong village, Sisattanak district.
According to the association, some 600 people received free legal aid from the project to provide legal aid clinics in the last half of last year, with 70 of them having court cases found in their favour. Mr Khamsay said the legal aid provision has learned that the problems people had were mainly about disputes concerning inherited property, loans, and other civil cases.
“Many people appeared for consultation as they had been accused concerning civil cases,” he said. Some people asked for consultation concerning disputes with authorities, and had received useful advice. Economic conditions can prove to be an obstacle for people in accessing justice. In this regard, the Lao Bar Association is ready to respond to problems encountered by poor people and seeks to ensure that their court cases are dealt with fairly.