Access to Justice: Supporting the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice

Function of the project

 The opening ceremony of the Free Legal Aid Agency of the Canton Sarajevo.

Access to justice for the poor and marginalised is not guaranteed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, due to a fragmented and poorly developed Free Legal Aid (FLA) system in the country, and the lack of harmonised legislation at the state level. Free legal aid is only available in a limited number of jurisdictions and, even when legislation is in place, the outlets are underequipped, understaffed, and lack quality monitoring tools and professional training. In addition, the general public are not aware of their rights to free legal aid services.

The lack of legal aid most heavily impacts refugees, single mothers, the Roma population, people with disabilities, victims of domestic and gender-based violence and victims of human trafficking.

In addition to the lack of political will and support for the establishment of a comprehensive, integrated free legal aid system, insufficient funding also hinders the systematic approach to developing legal standards and the capacities of free legal aid providers.

What we do


We are working with our national partners (listed below) to establish a country-wide free legal aid system ensuring minimum equal standards for all citizens in accessing free legal aid services. This includes:

  • Development of legislation and harmonisation of existing laws at all government levels;
  • Establishment of governmental Free Legal Aid Agencies, where missing;
  • Provision of basic infrastructure for FLA Agencies (reconstruction of premises, furniture, IT equipment);
  • Professional development of FLA providers, including the creation of a two-year training curriculum and provision of training courses;
  • Development of adequate communication, monitoring and awareness tools (case management database, website and public-oriented brochures);
  • Establishment of a co-ordination and co-operation network among free legal aid providers.

Success thus far

Over 4,000 Free Legal Aid services provided through UNDP-supported civil society organisations:

  • Draft State law on free legal aid developed;
  • Three cantonal laws developed and adopted (in Canton Sarajevo, Unsko-Sanski, and Bosansko-Podrinjski Canton);
  • 3 new FLA Agencies established (in Sarajevo, Bihac and Gorazde);
  • 6 existing FLA offices (Tuzla, Trebinje, Doboj, Mostar, Zvornik and Zenica) fully reconstructed, furnished and equipped;
  • Established functioning FLA Network among existing 6 governmental providers and 5 NGOs;
  • Case management database developed for the FLA providers;
  • Training needs assessment completed; two-year training curriculum developed; and two training courses in specific areas for network members provided;
  • Website for the FLA Network developed and launched;
  • Free legal aid public-oriented brochure distributed.

Goals moving forward

  1. Provide further assistance for the development of free legal aid legislation at all governmental levels and advocate for the adoption of the state-level law;
  2. Support the establishment of three new Free Legal Aid Agencies and strengthen existing FLA providers in terms of facilities and equipment;
  3. Strengthen the efficiency of the FLA Network and ensure continued training;
  4. Continue development and implementation of legal aid service information websites and databases to raise public awareness on FLA services and improve communication with clients.

Financial contributors

Phase I Duration: July 2009 – March 2013
Donor name Amount contributed per year
UNDP $ 35,633
Government of Denmark $ 66,934.41
UNDP $ 200,000
Government of Switzerland $ 104,100
UNDP/BCPR $  2,691,818.00
Phase II
Duration: June 2013 – February 2014
UNDP/BCPR $ 250,000

Delivery in Previous Fiscal Year

Dec 2012 $ 812,985.84
Dec 2011 $ 924,518.09
Dec 2010 $ 770,401.18

Geographic coverage