Recommendation No. R (99) 6 on the Improvement of the practical application of the European Agreement on the transmission of applications for legal aid (1999)

COUNCIL OF EUROPE

COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

________

RECOMMENDATION No. R (99) 6

OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS TO MEMBER STATES

ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE EUROPEAN AGREEMENT

ON THE TRANSMISSION OF APPLICATIONS FOR LEGAL AID

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 23 February 1999,
at the 660th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Having regard to the European Agreement on the Transmission of Applications for Legal Aid, done at Strasbourg on 27 January 1977 (hereinafter referred to as "the Agreement");

Having regard to Recommendation No. R (97) 6, aiming at improving the practical application of the Agreement;

Considering that it is desirable to remove existing obstacles to civil proceedings abroad and to permit persons in an economically weak position more easily to exercise their rights in member states;

Believing that a large number of ratifications to the Agreement would contribute to the attainment of this aim;

Having regard to the problems caused in the practical application of the agreement by the use of different forms of applications for legal aid in the member states;

Noting that delays in legal aid proceedings are currently a serious problem in many countries and may make these proceedings unfair;

Having regard to practical difficulties encountered by member states in using the form contained in Appendix I to Recommendation No. R (94) 8;

Considering that, in urgent cases, it is desirable for applications for legal aid to be dealt with rapidly;

Considering that further measures may be taken by governments to ensure that applicants are given real access to justice,

Having Regard to Resolution No. 1 adopted by the European Ministers of Justice at their twentieth Conference held in Budapest in 1996, on measures to ensure the fairness and efficiency of justice and, in particular, to reduce undue delays,

Recommends that governments of member states:

a. sign and ratify the Agreement as soon as possible, if they have not already done so;

b. use the form contained in Appendix I to this recommendation when transmitting an application for legal aid to a party to the Agreement and, wherever possible, accept the form when it receives it from another party;

c. ensure that central authorities assist applicants to complete the application form contained in Appendix I and any legal aid form required by the country concerned, if necessary;

d. complete and send the form contained in Appendix II to the transmitting authority immediately upon acknowledgement of receipt of an application;

e. if requested by the transmitting authority, report on the progress of the application;

f. if appropriate, inform the court or the authority concerned of all matters relating to applications for legal aid;

g. if appropriate, provide information to enable the applicant to contact a lawyer;

h. translate the form contained in Appendix I and send a copy of the translation to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe who will ensure that a copy is sent to all central authorities designated under the Agreement;

i. provide, whenever possible, a lawyer who speaks a language which the applicant understands;

j. facilitate as much as possible communication between lawyer and applicant;

k. deal with applications within a reasonable time and require receiving central authorities to report to transmitting central authorities six months after the date of receiving a complete application, if a decision has not been made, giving details on the progress of the application and any difficulties which are preventing a decision;

l. where necessary, consider introducing procedures whereby applications for legal aid may be dealt with rapidly in urgent matters;

m. in urgent matters, accept applications by using modern means of telecommunications such as telefax or e-mail and informing, by using any appropriate means, the court or authority concerned with the proceedings that an application for legal aid will be made;

Decide that this recommendation will replace Recommendation No. R (97) 6 aiming at improving the practical application of the European Agreement on the Transmission of Applications for Legal Aid.

Appendix I to Recommendation No. R (99) 6

Application form for legal aid abroad

For use when making an application under the

European Agreement on the Transmission of Applications

for Legal Aid (European Treaty Series No. 92)

Subject matter of the proceedings

Questions 1 to 5 of this form should be completed and returned to 1

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

(the transmitting authority). When this form has been completed, it will be sent by the transmitting authority to the country where you are seeking legal aid.

1. Information relating to the applicant:

a. Surname/identity or corporate name (if a legal person)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

b. Forenames

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

c. Address (if not your habitual residence, please also give the address of your habitual residence)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

d. Occupation

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

e. Nationality/seat (if a legal person)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

f. Civil status (married, divorced, single, cohabitation)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

g. Dependants (children or other persons supported by you)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

h. Languages understood by you

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

2. Information relating to the other party (if you have this information)

a. Surname/identity or corporate name (if a legal person)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

b. Forenames

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

c. Address

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

d. Occupation

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

e. Nationality/seat (if a legal person)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

3. Information relating to the proceedings abroad

a. Is the case pending before a court abroad?

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

If so, please give, if known:

i. the reference number of the case

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

ii. the dates of the hearing

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

iii. the name and address of this court

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

b. Who instituted the legal proceedings? …………………………………………………

c. Have you already instructed a lawyer in this country or abroad? (if so indicate his/her name, address and telephone and fax numbers, language)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

d. If you have not instructed a lawyer abroad do you wish, in those countries where this is possible 2, to appoint your own lawyer or to receive assistance from the legal aid office or the court abroad to help you to make such an appointment?

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

e. If the proceedings concern a decision which has already been given by a judicial authority (for example appeal, opposition, enforcement of a decision) specify:

i. the name and place of the judicial authority

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

ii. the date of the decision

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

iii. the date you received the decision

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Please attach a copy of this decision to this application form.

f. Give the background details to the case and explain briefly why you are bringing or defending the claim. What are the other party's reasons for bringing or defending the claim? Please make a summary of the facts, if necessary in a separate document (signed by the applicant 3), indicating the interest you have in the case. Please submit copies of any documents relevant to the legal proceedings.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

g. Give brief information concerning the nature of the proceedings (for example the amount claimed by you or the other party, divorce or administrative proceedings).

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

h. In urgent cases, specify the reasons for the urgency. Indicate - if any - the date of the next hearing.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

4. Financial situation of the applicant:

N.B. If the country to which you are applying for legal aid requires you, in addition to this application form, to complete its own application form for legal aid and advice, please do not complete part 4 of this form.

When part 4 is completed, it is essential that documentary evidence be attached to this application (statement of income, debts, tax return, etc.).

A. Income of applicant and spouse/partner (indicate whether monthly or yearly amounts are given):

i. salary

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

ii. unemployment and social security benefits

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

iii. pensions

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

iv. maintenance rights (from whom, what amount?)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

v. other income from whatever source (for example from other work, unearned income such as rent, income from capital, etc.)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

B. a. Expenses of applicant and spouse/partner (indicate whether monthly or yearly amounts are given):

i. for home (for example rent, mortgage or repayment of credit, etc.)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

ii. other expenses (for example dependants, maintenance payments, etc.)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

iii. debts (kind of debt, instalments, amount)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

b. Are any of these expenses deductible for tax purposes? Which ones?

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

C. Capital of applicant and spouse/partner:

i. immovable property (for example house or flat)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

ii. other property (for example bank account, shares, etc.)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

D. Do you have any other possible alternative funding, including insurance cover, which might cover the expenses or part of them relating to the proceedings? If so, please give details and attach copies of any relevant documentation.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

5. Any other information:

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

6. Declaration:

I certify that the information contained in this form is true and accurate  4

a. date

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

b. place

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

c. signature of the applicant

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

7. Information to be given by the transmitting authority:

a. registration number of applicant

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

b. person dealing with application in the transmitting authority (name, address, telephone and fax number)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Appendix II to Recommendation No. (99) 6

Form for acknowledgement of receipt of an application under

the European Agreement on the Transmission of Applications for

Legal Aid (European Treaty Series No.92)

(To be returned by the central receiving authority)

From the central receiving authority of …………………….. (insert the name of your country)

To the transmitting authority of .……………… (insert the name of the transmitting authority)

I acknowledge receipt of your application reference number ......……………………….,

dated ......……………..

This application is being considered here under reference number .....……………………….

For further information regarding this application please contact (name, address, telephone, fax and telex numbers, language)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

(If appropriate) The file has been/will be sent to (for example the Legal Aid Office) (name, address, telephone, fax and telex numbers, language)

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Date …………………………………………

Place …………………………………………

Signature and/or stamp of the requested authority

…………………………………………………………………………………………….


1. Before giving this form to applicants, the transmitting authority should insert its name and address here.

2. In some countries legally aided persons must be assisted by a lawyer chosen by the appropriate body.

3. In some countries, the signature of the lawyer is also requested.

4. Please note that false or incomplete statements may lead to disadvantages for the applicant (for example, loss of legal aid, penalties, civil liability, criminal sanctions).