LAF provides the general public with legal aid, with the purpose of defending people's basic litigation rights. Legal aid recipients are those who lack financial means and are unable to receive proper legal protection or exercise their rights; or those who may not lack financial means but should be given aid according to the law, such as those involved in compulsory defense cases (where the minimum punishment of the crime is not less than three years imprisonment; or where the individual’s ability to express in court is impeded by intellectual disability). The services of LAF include legal consultation, mediation and settlement, legal documents drafting and representation in court proceedings.
The Legal Aid Act was passed on December 23, 2003 and was promulgated by the President on January 7, 2004. The Foundation commenced operations on July 1, 2004. Since then, 21 Branch Offices have opened in municipal cities and counties to serve labor, women, children, aboriginal people and migrants.
Under Article 6 of the Legal Aid Act, the endowment of the Foundation is NT$10,000,000,000. The Foundation encourages the public to make donations, and also receives annual contribution budgeted by the Judicial Yuan.
The Foundation has been developing legal aid programs to provide a wider range of services, for example, the “Legal Aid for Victims of Human Trafficking Program”, “Legal Aid for Consumer Debt Clearance Program”, “First Criminal Interrogation Accompanied by Legal Aid Attorneys Program”, “Legal Aid for Labor Litigation Program” and “Legal Aid for Indigenous Peoples Program”.
In the future, the Foundation will continue the search for better understanding of the needs of the disadvantaged, and protect their rights and interests, and also review the criteria of financial eligibility to find an acceptable balance between strict assessment and convenience for the public.
- To Be Approachable.
- To Adopt Efficient Procedures.
- To Be Flexible.
- To Provide Professional Services.
- To reflect rigorously, to seek reform and to enhance the soundness of the legal aid system.
- To make legal aid available throughout Taiwan.
- To actively publicize legal aid news and information.
- To allow people convenient access to legal aid.
- To increase the quality of legal aid services.
- To encourage the participation of lawyers in legal aid and social reform.
- To strengthen the promotion of legal education for disadvantaged people.
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