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ROADMAP: Strengthening the Paralegal Profession within the National System of State Guaranteed Primary Legal Aid

By: Soros Foundation-Moldova Justice Program

The present Roadmap was drawn up within the project “Shared Framework on Legal Empowerment in Moldova” implemented by the Justice Program of the Soros Foundation-Moldova. The project aims at developing, institutionalizing, and implementing policies and practices of legal empowerment of the population. The project refers to the empowerment of people to independently use the legal framework in order to identify concrete solutions to everyday legal issues and thus contribute to rendering the authorities accountable. As a result, legal education of the marginalized population will empower and mobilize communities to actively participate in the decision-making processes and to monitor the activity of state institutions. Currently, these tasks are performed by community paralegals. The Justice Program aims at developing a clear mechanism for institutionalizing the profession of paralegals and supporting the creation of alternative models for providing primary legal aid services, including the creation of an association of paralegals.

This document highlights systemic problems and gaps in the legislation related to the activity of paralegals. The national consultants who developed this Roadmap analyzed the extent to which the current system meets the legal empowerment needs of the population, especially of the most vulnerable social groups. The study identifies major areas of intervention to improve the system of providing primary legal aid services through the network of paralegals, and establishes concrete steps for strengthening the status of paralegals.