Rights of victims of criminal offences under the Law on Criminal Procedure (Source: Law on Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Croatia, Article 43, Article 45):
A victim of a criminal offense has a right to:
- effective psychological and other professional assistance and support of the body, organization or institution for assistance to victims of crime pursuant to the Law
- participate in criminal proceedings as an injured person
- other rights prescribed by law.
Victim of a criminal offense for which a punishment of imprisonment of five years or more is prescribed has a right to:
- the advisor at the expense of state budget funds before testifying in criminal proceedings and the filing of claims for indemnification, in case of severe psychophysical impairment or serious consequences of criminal offense,
- the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages from the state funds pursuant to prescribed conditions and the law. If the victim has filed property claims, content of claims will be taken into account, and court will apply similar procedure if the victim previously received compensation from the state fund.
Victim of a criminal offense against sexual freedom and sexual morality has the right under the Article 43 of this Law a right to:
- talk to a counselor before the investigation at the expense of state budget funds,
- to be questioned by persons of the same sex at the police and the state attorney’s office,
- refuse to answer questions that relate to strictly personal aspects of the life of the victim,
- ask to testify through an audio-video device,
- request confidentiality of personal information,
- request for the exclusion of the public from the hearing.
PBefore the first questioning, the court, State Attorney’s Office, investigator and the police have to familiarize the victim of the criminal offense with her/his rights.
What is free legal aid?
Primary legal aid includes:
- general legal information;
- legal advice;
- legal aid in drafting documents before administrative bodies and legal persons vested with public authority;
- representation in administrative matters;
- legal aid provided in peaceful out-of-court settlement of disputes;
- representation before the European Court of Human Rights and international organizations according to international agreements and the rules related to the work of these bodies..
Secondary legal aid includes:
- representation before the court;
- legal aid provided for disputes that shall be settled in the court;
- drafting documents in legal proceedings.
The approval of any form of legal aid includes the exemption from payment of legal costs and fees.
How can I receive free legal aid?
According to the provisions of the Free Legal Aid Act and the Ordinance Establishing the Application Form for the Approval of Free Legal Aid, the Order Form and the Record of the Orders Issued, a person who requests to use the right to free legal aid has to fill in Application form for the approval of free legal aid (link to the form: http://www.pravosudje.hr/Default.aspx?art=332&sec=383)and submit it to one of the state administration offices in the counties according to the applicant’s residence.
The Application Forms in hard copy are available in all state administration offices in the counties, municipal courts and in centers for social welfare during their office hours.
The Application Form has to be submitted with the Statement Form of the Applicant (link to the form: http://www.pravosudje.hr/Default.aspx?art=332&sec=383 ) and the Adult Members of the Household granting permission to authorities to verify all relevant data and by which applicant accepts all material and criminal liability for the truthfulness of the given statements.
The state administration office, where the application is submitted, shall decide on the application for the approval of free legal aid within 15 days from the day the application was received.
Who is eligible for free legal aid?
The beneficiaries of free legal aid are the persons unable to bear the costs of legal proceedings without endangering their livelihood, and who belong to one of the following categories:
- Croatian citizens
- foreigners with temporary residence
- foreigners with permanent residence
- foreigners under subsidiary protection
- foreigners under temporary protection
- asylum seekers in proceedings for which legal aid to asylum seekers is not foreseen with a specific act
- minor foreigners in the Republic of Croatia who are not accompanied by their parents or legal guardian
Criteria for the approval of the free legal aid
A criterion for the approval of free legal aid is the financial status of the applicant and the members of the household. Article 8 of the Free Legal Aid Act regulates the cases in which it is possible to realize the right to free legal aid as follows:
- The person will be considered unable to bear the costs of legal assistance without endangering his/her livelihood if he/she is a recipient of rights from the social welfare system and other forms of assistance, or the right to maintenance pursuant to the Act on the Rights of Croatian Homeland War Veterans and Members of their Families and the Act on Protection of Military and Civilian War Invalids.
- The person will be considered unable to bear the costs of legal assistance without endangering his/her livelihood if the financial status of the applicant and the adult members of his/her household meets the following conditions (cumulatively):
- When the assets in monetary form of the applicant and members of his/her household do not amount to more than twenty of the lowest monthly bases for calculation and payment of contributions for obligatory insurance on the day the application is filed, pursuant to the Act on Obligatory Insurance Contributions, per member of the household (2.679,00 Croatian kuna for 2011)
- When the applicant or members of his/her household possess assets, apart from assets in monetary form, whose total value does not exceed the amount of twenty of the lowest monetary bases for calculation and payment of contributions for obligatory insurance on the day the application is submitted, pursuant to the Act on Obligatory Insurance Contributions (2.679,00 Croatian kuna for 2011)
- When the applicant or members of his/her household own a flat or house considered to be adequate in the sense of Article 3 of the Act (35m2 for the applicant, increased by 10 m2 for each subsequent member of the household, plus or minus 10 m2) and if they own a car whose value does not exceed eighteen of the lowest monthly bases for calculation and payment of contributions for obligatory insurance on the day of submitting the application, pursuant to the Act on Obligatory Insurance Contributions (2.679,00 Croatian kuna for 2011)
- When in the last 12 months the total income and total revenue of the applicant and the adult members of his/her household each month does not exceed, per member of the household, the amount of the lowest base for calculation and payment of contributions for obligatory insurance on the day the application is submitted, pursuant to the Act on Obligatory Insurance Contributions (2.679,00 Croatian kuna for 2011)
- Free legal aid shall also be granted to children whose parents or other persons are obliged to support them according to the provisions of the law, in proceedings conducted before competent bodies for the realization of the rights of children to maintenance regardless of the financial status of the family
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