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VIETNAM ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
GRADUATE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
NGUYEN VIET KHOA
LEGAL AID ACTIVITIES UNDER
CURRENT VIETNAMESE LAW
Major: Constitutional Law and Administrative Law
Code: 9 38 01 02
SUMMARY OF DOCTORAL THESIS IN LAW
HANOI – 2019
The work was completed at
GRADUATE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
Scientific Supervisor: Prof. PhD. Phan Trung Ly
Reviewer 1: Prof. PhD. Thai Vinh Thang
Reviewer 2: Prof. PhD. Pham Hong Thai
Reviewer 3: Assoc.Prof. PhD. Vu Trong Hach
The dissertation will be defended before the thesis review
council of the Academy at the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences at
hour minute, day month year.
The thesis can be found at:
- National Library of Vietnam
- Library of Graduate Academy of Social Sciences.
PREAMBLE
1. Necessity of the topic
As a form of public service in modern society, legal aid is the responsibility of the State
in providing legal services to certain target groups in order to support them to access justice
and equality before laws, contributing to ensuring human rights and citizens' rights. For
industrialized countries around the world, legal aid services have existed since immediately
after World War II and are deployed with different models, relatively diverse. In Vietnam, the
legal aid system was built in 1997, officially after the Prime Minister's Decision No.
734/1997/TTg dated September 6, 1997, on setting up a legal aid organization for the poor and
policy beneficiaries. After many years of providing legal aid, we have gradually put legal aid
activities in order to clearly show the humanity of a civilized society. Institutionally, Vietnam
has promulgated the Law on Legal Aid in 2006 and the Law on Legal Aid in 2017 (effective
from January 1, 2018) with specific documents and guidelines on the implementation of the
above two laws. On that basis, in terms of organization, the system of legal aid agencies of the
State has been formed from the central level (the Legal Aid Department, the Ministry of
Justice) to the localities (legal aid centers under the Department of Justice of provinces and
cities). In terms of activities, the quality of judicial activity in general and the quality of legal
aid activities in particular have gained important achievements. Legal aid organizations have
affirmed their position and role in providing legal aid to the majority of the poor, social policy
beneficiaries and others, and at the same time become an indispensable part of the legal life of
society in order to meet the requirements of free legal advice and assistance for disadvantaged
people, policy beneficiaries and vulnerable groups. Thereby, legal aid activities have made
important contributions to the development and growth of the judiciary and the country's
renovation cause, contributing to bringing the guidelines and policies of the Party and the State
into life, ensuring human rights, civil rights, maintaining political security, social order and
safety, creating a stable environment for economic development, international integration,
country development and defence.
However, besides that, legal aid activities also face many difficulties both in
institutional content and institutional practice. Some legal provisions on legal aid are not really
appropriate; guidelines and policies for legal aid have not really come to life; forms and
methods of legal aid are not hihgly effective; legal aid beneficiaries’ human rights, access to
justice, and equality before the law have not been guaranteed as expected by society. In
particular, since 2010, due to the reduction of resources from the Projects, in the localities,
legal aid activities face many difficulties, especially for mobile legal aid, communication
training, club activities, etc.
This, in turn, is caused by gaps in theoretical awareness and unresolved embarrassments
in formulating laws and practices in implementing specific legal aid activities. So far, some
issues related to the scope of legal aid beneficiaries, scope of legal aid services, method of
organizing the legal aid system, the ability and level of socialization of legal aid activities,
forms and methods of legal aid, mobilizing resources for legal aid in an optimal way with
specific conditions of Vietnam are still topics with plenty of room for further research,
exchange, debation in order to bring about the most effective and positive impact to legal aid
activities.
In this context, the systematic continuation of research both in terms of theoretical
perceptions, assessing the status of law and practice of legal aid activities in order to create
scientific arguments for solutions to improve the efficiency of the operation of the legal aid
system in Vietnam today is very necessary, topical and urgent. This is the starting point for the
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student to choose the topic "Legal aid activities under the current Vietnamese law" and
implement the topic within the scope of the doctoral thesis of jurisprudence.
2. Research purposes and missions
2.1. Research purposes
The thesis has a general goal of building scientific arguments for solutions to improve
the effectiveness of legal aid activities under the current Vietnamese law.
2.2. Research missions
- Analyzing and clarifying the theoretical awareness about legal aid activities and the
need to adjust the law on current legal aid activities.
- Survey and assessing the current status of the law on legal aid activities and current
practice of legal aid activities in Vietnam; pointing out the advantages, successes, limitations,
obstacles and causes of the current status of the law on legal aid activities.
- Identifying the legal and practical issues currently posing for legal aid activities in
Vietnam today.
- Determining views and proposing solutions to improve the effectiveness of legal aid activities
in accordance with Vietnamese law in accordance with the requirements of human rights, social
policies of the Party, our State and the process of judicial reform in Vietnam today.
3. Research subject and scope
3.1. Research subject
- Scientific views on legal aid activities.
- Regulations of the law on organization and operation of legal aid in Vietnam.
- Practicing legal aid organization and activities in Vietnam.
- Experience of some countries in developing legal aid models and implementing legal
aid activities.
3.2. Research scope
- Scope of content:
In a broad sense, the provision of free legal services to people in society is to support
and help them access to justice, ensuring that social justice can be carried out by many subjects
for many object types and through various types, content and methods of deployment. Based on
the free objectives and nature of service beneficiaries, volunteer activities in providing legal
services to social beneficiaries characterized by service providers who are capable of providing
free legal support and assistance, but themselves receive no remuneration can be considered as
a type of legal aid.
However, in a narrow sense, legal aid is primarily the responsibility of the State in
providing free legal services to subjects of the state's assistance policy and is conducted by
entities with the content, form and method as prescribed by law. In this sense, the State may
transfer a number of legal aid activities to the society (socialization of legal aid) but the
responsibility for securing the financial resources to pay for the provision of legal services to
those who face the law but are unable to pay the service fee still rests largely with the State.
The burden of the state budget on payment of legal aid can be reduced by social organizations’
ability to mobilize and voluntarily ensure the funding for legal services provided in the legal
aid activities.
Legal aid includes both the system of legal aid organization and the aspect of specific
legal aid activities. Therefore, it is possible to approach comprehensive research, at the same
time, on organizational and legal aid activities, or it is possible to delve into each piece of
organizational issues or legal awareness and put them in relationship with each other.
Within the scope of the doctoral thesis in law, the thesis deploys legal aid research in
the narrow sense, focusing on clarifying the theoretical, legal and practical aspects of legal aid
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as the subjects are State agencies. To a certain extent, the thesis addresses the issue of
socialization of legal aid as a trend and a solution to improve the effectiveness of legal aid activities
under the current Vietnamese law. The thesis - as determined by the topic - will spend most of its
volume to clarify the aspect of legal aid activities in accordance with Vietnamese law. The system of
legal aid organizations and the state management of legal aid will also be mentioned in the thesis within
the aspects related to legal aid activities but not the main subject of the thesis.
- Scope of space: The thesis is based on data and information reflecting the current
status of legal aid activities in the country, while focusing on case studies in some areas of the
Northern Plains and Midlands.
- Scope of time: The thesis studies legal aid activities from the time of issuance of
Decision No. 734/TTg on the establishment of legal aid organizations for the poor and policy
beneficiaries up to now. The author uses the data in the past 10 years.
4. Methodology and research methods
4.1. Methodology
Legal aid is one of the most important and complex social and legal issues in modern
social life. Therefore, in order to ensure the scientific, political and social characteristics of the
research results, the thesis is implemented based on the following methodology:
- Marxist and Leninist views on people's power, human rights, the state and the law, the
relationship between the state, individuals and societies in various political institutions.
- Ho Chi Minh's thought on democracy, human rights and the nature of the state's
service, especially his views on the development and completion of democratic law, social
security assurance, national unity in national construction and development.
- The views and policies of the Party and the State of Vietnam show how to view issues
related to human rights and citizens' rights, build a socialist rule of law state, and sustainably
develop the country.
- Common principles of people's sovereignty, human rights, civil society, the
relationship between the state and individuals (Social Contracting Theory, Human Rights
Theory, The Commonwealth State Theory, etc.)
4.2. Research Methods
- Method of analysis and synthesis: used extensively in all chapters and sections of the
thesis to discover and explain the contents related to the thesis topic.
- System structure method: mainly used in chapters 2 and 3 of the thesis to identify and
evaluate the operation of elements of the legal aid operating model in Vietnam.
- Comparative jurisprudence method: mainly used in chapters 2 and 4 of the thesis to
clarify the legal models of legal aid activities in countries around the world and reference
values for Vietnam.
- Statistical method: used in chapters 1 and 3 of the thesis to gather and evaluate the
research situation related to the topic and the status of legal aid activities in Vietnam.
- Sociological method: used in chapters 2, 3 and 4 of the thesis to understand the
fundamental relationship of legal aid operating model in Vietnam.
- Historical method: mainly used in chapter 3 to identify characteristics and steps in
awareness and current situation of legal aid activities in Vietnam.
- Scientific forecasting method: mainly used in chapter 4 to forecast requirements and
trends to improve the effectiveness of legal aid activities.
5. New scientific contributions of the thesis
The thesis is based on the inheritance of research results of a number of scientific works
on the same topic that have been done recently in the country and abroad. The thesis has
findings, interpretations and new scientific contributions, reflected on the following points:
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- The thesis systematizes research views on legal aid activities according to law. On that
basis, the thesis discovered theoretical and practical issues on legal aid activities that need to be
further studied, indicating directions for proposing solutions to continue improving the law and
improving the efficiency of legal aid activities in Vietnam today.
- The thesis provides concepts of legal aid and legal aid activities, identifies the
characteristics of legal aid, and outlines and explains the role of legal aid activities.
- The thesis analyzes fully and comprehensively the theoretical aspects and the need to
adjust the law on subjects, objects, content, and forms of legal aid activities.
- The thesis clarifies the content and ability of some factors to affect the effectiveness of
legal aid activities.
- The thesis analyzes the current situation of Vietnamese law and practice of
implementing legal aid activities according to Vietnamese law. The thesis assesses the
advantages, limitations as well as causes of advantages and limitations in legal aid activities in
Vietnam today.
- The thesis identifies guiding views and proposes some solutions to realize the views to
improve the effectiveness of legal aid activities under the laws of Vietnam. Solutions related to
raising awareness, improving the law and implementing the 2017 Law on Legal Aid, adjusting
the legal aid model, building human resources for legal aid, socializing legal aid activities,
finding out the need for legal aid, and raising the people's legal awareness, etc. are new and
feasible.
6. Theoretical and practical significance of the thesis
The thesis contributes to standardizing the theoretical awareness of legal aid activities,
creating the foundation for the continuation of the law on legal aid, improving the
responsibility of the State and society in providing legal services, promoting legal aid activities,
thereby strengthening the human values of Vietnamese society today.
The thesis's research results can be applied in developing legislative plans related to
legal aid in Vietnam, applied in the organization and operation of the legal aid organization
system from the central government to localities. The thesis can be used as a reference in
research and training in the field of legal sciences and human rights sciences.
7. Structure of the thesis
In addition to the Introduction, Conclusion, List of references, the thesis content is
structured into 04 chapters:
Chapter 1: Overview of research situation and issues raised on the thesis topic
Chapter 2: Theoretical issues about legal aid activities under the law
Chapter 3: Actual situation of legal aid activities under Vietnamese law
Chapter 4: Viewpoints and solutions to improve the effectiveness of legal aid activities
under the current Vietnamese law
Chapter 1
OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH SITUATION AND ISSUES RAISED ON
THE THESIS TOPIC
1.1. Overview of the thesis research situation
Legal aid is one of the very important social policies of our Party and State as well as
countries in the world, associated with an increasingly fuller and clearer understanding of
democracy and human rights in contemporary society. This creates excitement for many
researchers when selecting research topics. Accordingly, hundreds of large and small research
projects have been conducted and published in the form of publications related to different
degrees to the thesis topic “Legal aid activities according to the current laws of Vietnam”.
Basically, the content of research works can be found in the following aspects:
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1.1.1. Research situation of theoretical issues of the thesis topic
In the country, it is possible to roll over some typical works such as:
- Ministry-level scientific research project (2004), Scientific and practical foundations
for elaborating legal aid ordinances by the Institute of Legal Science Research (Ministry of
Justice) in coordination with the Legal Aid Department (Ministry of Justice) for
implementation.
- Ministry-level scientific research project (2015), Scientific and practical foundations
to amend and supplement the Law on Legal Aid, chaired by the Institute of Legal Science
Research (Ministry of Justice) and implemented by the Legal Aid Department (Ministry of
Justice).
- Ministry-level project (2014), Researching the model of legal aid in the trend of socialization
of public services, led by PhD. Duong Thanh Mai, senior expert of Ministry of Justice.
- Book "Human rights" by Prof. Dr. Vo Khanh Vinh, published in 2011.
- Book "International Law on the Rights of Vulnerable Groups" published by the Law
Faculty of National University in 2011.
- Book "State and contemporary bourgeois law: Theory and practice" by Assoc.Prof.
Dr. Thai Vinh Thang published (reprinted version in 2010 at Judicial Publishing House).
- Report on Research of foreign experiences on legal aid by a team of experts of the
Ministry of Justice in 2015.
- In recent years, a significant number of scientific articles published in specialized
journals have focused on deciphering one or several theoretical issues on legal aid in general
and adjusting the law on legal aid in particular. Some articles of the author Ta Thi Minh Ly can
be mentioned such as: Discussion about the concept of legal aid, State and legal journal (2005);
The concept of legal aid and a number of issues that need further discussion, a special issue of
the magazine about legal aid, 2006; Ensuring human rights for the poor in the field of legal aid,
Journal of legislative research (2009); Article by Phan Thi Thu Ha, Legal aid - concepts and
models in some countries around the world, Journal of Legislative Research No. 5/2006; the
article by Le Quang Kiem, Socialization of legal aid activities for the poor and social policy
beneficiaries, the Journal of Democracy and Law in the November 2010 issue, etc. In addition,
some scientific papers have the content of foreign experience on legal aid such as the article
"Experience to ensure the quality of legal aid in the UK" by Duong Quang Long, published in
the Journal of Democracy and France, special law issue of October 2009; a number of articles
published on the Portal of Legal Aid - Ministry of Justice: "Legal aid in Canada: Public
lawyers work more effectively"; "Legal aid in Finland"; "Legal aid at ISRAEL"; "Legal aid in
Finland", etc. From the research results, these articles have shown a diversity of concepts in
legal aid, legal aid recipients, legal aid providers, model of legal aid provision, and the need to
adjust the law on legal aid.
- Doctoral theses approach from the perspective of legal science with diverse topics
associated with the field of legal aid. Although there are different subjects and scope of
research, they all devote an important content about some theoretical issues related to legal aid
activities. Notable theses are Ta Thi Minh Ly's doctoral thesis in Law (defended at Hanoi Law
University, 2008) with the topic: Adjusting the law on Legal Aid in Vietnam in context of
innovation; Nguyen Van Tung’s doctoral thesis of law (Defended at Ho Chi Minh National
Academy of Politics and Public Administration in 2007) with the topic of State management by
law for legal aid activities in Vietnam today; Nguyen Huynh Huyen’s doctoral thesis of law
(Defended at Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration 2012),
In foreign countries, the theoretical research aspect of legal aid activities is promoted
in a number of countries with development legal aid (England, Germany, India, Netherlands,
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Singapore, etc.), accounting for a large volume of monographs such as: Diverse modes of
providing legal services and Legal aid in Hong Kong published by the Legal Aid Services Council
in 2006; Poverty and legal aid - Access to criminal justice by Dr. S.Muralidhar (India); The theory
and practice of the legal aid regime in China of Prof. Quoc Quoc Hung (China), etc.
1.1.2. Research situation of practical issues of the thesis topic
In the country
- First of all, the two ministerial-level topics mentioned above that are chaired by the
Institute of Legal Science - Ministry of Justice, and implemented by the Department of Legal
Aid - Ministry of Justice (2004 and 2015) all spend part 2 in the Report to review the practice
of legal adjustment and implementation of legal aid activities.
- Approach from the perspective of socialization of legal aid activities, Ministry-level
project of Researching legal aid model in the trend of socialization of public services by PhD.
Duong Thanh Mai, the chairperson, gave the information gained by the results of the survey in
practice on all aspects.
- The reality of the law on legal aid in Vietnam is presented more in detail in the Report
on Legal Aid in Vietnam: The situation and the direction of improvement by the research team
under the leadership of PhD. Ngo Duc Manh and UNDP technical assistance to the Ministry of
Justice under the Project VIE/02/2015 (Supporting the implementation of Vietnam's legal
system development strategy to 2010).
- Practical implementation of the law on legal aid is relatively fully summarized in the
monograph research Report on summarizing 08 years of implementation of the Law on legal
aid implemented by the Ministry of Justice in June 2016 (Report No. 158/BC/BTP dated June
30, 2016).
- In addition, a number of monographs identify a key objective of requiring a direct
study of practical issues of legal aid in Vietnam. Typical books are 10 years of legal aid
activities in Vietnam: development direction, published by Legal Aid Department - Ministry of
Justice in 2008; Handbook for organizing the implementation of Legal Aid, prepared by the
Department of Legal Aid - Ministry of Justice in 2009; etc.
- Practical research on the organization and activities of legal aid in Vietnam attracts the
attention of many scientists in individual studies and is often published in the form of scientific
papers. The scope and object of this research are very diverse and specific with high
application values. This can be seen through the following brief, typical statistics: Legal Aid for
ethnic minorities in Hoa Binh by Dinh Thi Oanh, Journal of Democracy and Law No. 8/2008;
Assurance of the right to legal aid of citizens by TS. Hoang Van Nghia, Journal of Legislative
Studies No. 15, August 2009; Quality of legal aid cases by PhD. Ta Thi Minh Ly, Journal of
Legislative Studies No. 13, July 2009; Socialization of legal aid activities for the poor and
social policy beneficiaries by Le Quang Kiem, Journal of Democracy and the Law on topical
issues in November 2010; Conciliation in legal aid activities by Nguyen Huynh Huyen,
Democracy and Law Magazine, Issue of legal aid topics 2010; When the lawyers provide Legal
Aid in the form of participation in the proceedings by Le Nguyen Kim Hoang in the Journal of
Democracy and the Law on the Thematic issue of June 2011; Form of legal advice in legal aid
by Dao Thi Anh Tuyet, Journal of Democracy and the Law on topical issues in June 2011;
After five years of implementing the Law on Legal Aid in Quang Binh by Tran Tien Hai,
Journal of Democracy and Law on the Thematic issue of March 2012; etc.
As stated above, most of the theses on legal aid choose to study in a specific space or a
specific object. Statistics show that about 20 master's theses (protected concentratedly at the
Academy of Social Sciences, Hanoi University of Law and Ho Chi Minh National Academy of
Politics) follow this direction. Therefore, the volume of information and comments from
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practical perspectives is very rich and multi-dimensional. This aspect occupies the main
content in the following thesiss: Master's thesis in law with the topic of Development of legal
aid at the grassroots level by Dang Thi Loan at Hanoi University's National University School
of Law, 2009; Master's thesis in law with the topic of Legal aid from the practice of Soc Trang
province by Ho Minh Hai at the Academy of Social Sciences, 2014; Master's thesis in law with
the topic of Organization and operation of the Center for Legal Aid from the practice of Bac
Ninh province by Nguyen Viet Khoa at the Academy of Social Sciences, 2016; Master's thesis
in law with the topic of Organization and operation of the legal aid center from the practice of
Gia Lai province by Nguyen Thi Mong Diep at the Academy of Social Sciences, 2017;
Master's thesis in law with the topic of Organization and operation of Legal Aid from the
practice of Ninh Thuan province by Ngo Van Phat at the Academy of Social Sciences, 2017;
Master's thesis in law with the topic of Quality of legal aid activities in Vietnam by Pham
Quang Dai, etc.
- Associated with the study on domestic legal aid practice, in order to serve the process
of perfecting the law on legal aid, the Ministry of Justice has presided over an international
research practice of legal awareness in order to find experience in adjusting laws and
organizing the implementation of legal documents on legal awareness in countries with
successful legal practice activities. The results of this research are presented in a Report on
Study on foreign experience on legal aid conducted by an expert team of the Ministry of Justice
in 2015 through practical surveys of many countries. In addition, a number of reports were
separately made between 1998 and 2015, such as Report of survey results in the Philippines in
1998; Report the results of the survey in Lithuania in 2004; Report of survey results in China in
2004; Report the survey results in Ireland (2013); Report on survey results in Korea (2013);
Report the survey results in Victoria (Australia) (2014); Report the survey results in the US
(2014), Report the survey results in Japan (2015), Report the survey results in Argentina
(2015), etc.
In foreign countries, although the practical issues of legal aid activities in Vietnam
are very active in researching in the country, there are quite a few works by foreigners to
research or organize in foreign space. The fellows' survey shows that overseas researchers only
approach Vietnamese practices through project financing or participating as experts in survey
activities to recommend legal aid activities to specific audiences in Vietnam. In this case, the
investigation and the comments of experts on legal aid in Vietnam also help to identify more
practical aspects of legal aid activities in Vietnam, create material resources essential for
conducting comprehensive research on legal aid in Vietnam. One of the typical works in this
direction is the draft short-term research report on support for legal aid for children and young
people in Vietnam, chaired by the Swedish Children Support Organization in 2002).
1.1.3. Research situation and commentary on the proposals and
recommendations of the thesis topic
The research on legal aid in Vietnam comes from the requirement to find a suitable
legal aid model, perfect the law on legal aid, improve the quality of legal aid activities to
promote the role of the state and society in ensuring human rights and the rights of vulnerable
groups. Therefore, the research results of most research works at different scales are presented
in specific proposals and recommendations for the above objectives. This can be clearly seen in
the following research works:
- Ministry-level scientific research project (2004), Scientific and practical foundations
for elaborating legal aid ordinances by the Institute of Legal Science Research (Ministry of
Justice) in coordination with the Legal Aid Department (Ministry of Justice) for
implementation.
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- Ministry-level scientific research project (2015), Scientific and practical foundations
to amend and supplement the Law on Legal Aid, by the Institute of Legal Science Research
(Ministry of Justice) in coordination with the Legal Aid Department (Ministry of Justice) for
implementation.
- Ministry-level project (2014), Research on the model of Legal Aid in the trend of
socialization of public services by PhD. Duong Thanh Mai - Senior expert of Ministry of
Justice.
- Synthesis report on Legal Aid in Vietnam: Current situation and improvement
orientation by the research team under the leadership of PhD. Ngo Duc Manh and UNDP
technical assistance to the Ministry of Justice under the Project VIE/02/2015 (Supporting the
implementation of Vietnam's legal system development strategy to 2010).
- A number of scientific articles: Improving the effectiveness of legal dissemination and
education through legal aid activities, by Hang Van, the Journal of Democracy and Topical
Law in January 2013; Socialization of legal aid activities for the poor and policy beneficiaries
by Le Quang Kiem, Democratic and Law Review, November 2010 issue; Necessity to perfect
institutions and solutions to legal aid activities for sustainable development by author Nguyen
Vinh, Journal of Democracy and Law, the November 11 issue; Orientation for sustainable
development of legal aid work by 2020 by Do Xuan Lan, the Journal of Democracy and Law,
the March 2012 issue, etc.
- Doctor’s thesis in law (2007) by Nguyen Van Tung, State management by law for
current legal aid activities in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics.
- Doctor’s thesis in law (2008) by Ta Thi Minh Ly, Amending the law on legal aid in
Vietnam in terms of innovation, Hanoi Law University.
- Master's thesis in Law (2012) by Nguyen Bich Ngoc, Solutions to improve the
effectiveness of legal aid activities.
- Master's thesis in Law (2014) of Cu Thu Anh, Improving legal aid Legal aid in
Vietnam.
Overall, the aforementioned studies have identified a number of perspectives on the
continuation of the legal aid model, amending legal aid laws and improving the quality and
effectiveness of legal aid activities in Vietnam. The identified views are all linked to the need
to ensure human rights, in accordance with the requirements of building a rule of law State and
sustainable development of the country, in accordance with current international legal
standards and international integration needs, ensuring compatibility between legal awareness
and specific socio-economic conditions in Vietnam.
1.2. Comment on the thesis research situation
1.2.1. General comment
Results of the overview of the research situation related to the topic Legal aid activities
under the law in Vietnam today show that:
The number of research works on the topic of legal aid is relatively large, plentiful and
diverse, accessible from many directions with different levels of relevance to the topic Legal aid
activities under the law in Vietnam today.
The research results shed some light on the theoretical aspects of legal aid organization
and activities in Vietnam. Many researches have deepened the assessment of the status of legal
aid activities for some specific subjects or in a specific area. On that basis, a number of
research works have paid attention to proposing solutions, including legal solutions to improve
the effectiveness of legal aid activities in our country today. This is the result that can inherit
and develop in the thesis research.
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1.2.2. Issues related to the thesis topic that have been clarified, have uniform
conclusions and are inherited and developed by the thesis in the research of the topic.
Theoretically, the common awareness of human rights, the rights of vulnerable groups
of people as well as the responsibility of the state and society to ensure the basic human rights
that express the nature of democratic and civilized social regimes have been elucidated.
From a practical perspective, the picture of the legal situation and the practice of legal
aid organization and activities in Vietnam has basic lines. The researches have relatively
summarized the process of forming and developing the Party's views on human rights and on
the goals and requirements of legal aid activities in Vietnam.
On the basis of proposals and recommendations, up to the time of 2017, on the one
hand, the research works reached a general consensus on the need to apply many solutions
simultaneously; on the other hand, the consensus is achieved primarily on two aspects: (1)
proposal on supplementing and amending the Law on Legal Aid and related legal documents;
(2) proposal on a reform of the legal aid model based on the socialization of some elements of
legal aid activities. However, there are still many different opinions (even contradictory) in the
content of recommendations in both these aspects as well as in other proposals with different
arguments.
1.2.3. Issues related to the topic of the thesis but not fully addressed, there are many
debates, problems or have not been posed for research
Theory:
- The concept of legal aid, legal aid activities and many related concepts (legal aid
beneficiaries, legal aid providers, etc.) is mentioned in most research works related to the thesis
topic and is relatively clear about the content but there are many differences when expressed in
the form of a definition.
Actual situation:
- The current status of legal aid activities in Vietnam has not been envisioned in a
comprehensive, complete and systematic manner, both in terms of legislation adjustment and in
terms of law enforcement.
Regarding solutions and recommendations:
- The overview of the research situation related to the topic of Legal aid activities under
the law in Vietnam today shows that there is a lack of adequate analysis and reasoning on the
context and the need to strengthen legal aid activities, especially the context of the
implementation of the 2013 Constitution and the implementation of the Party's major
undertakings on building a socialist rule-of-law State, develop a socialist-oriented market
economy, promote democracy, ensure human rights, and integrate deeply into international life.
1.3. Issues raised that need further research. Research hypotheses and research
questions
1.3.1. Issues that need further research on the thesis topic
Firstly, research on new changes in theoretical awareness of the nature of legal aid
activities associated with new thinking about democracy, human rights, and building a rule of
law state.
Secondly, research and evidence on the necessity of legal aid activities and the
manifestations of the legal aid operation model in Vietnam.
Thirdly, research on the theoretical framework on legal adjustment for legal aid
activities in Vietnam.
Fourthly, practical research on the implementation of legal aid activities in Vietnam.
Overcoming the situation of researches made in the individual manner in recent years, the
thesis needs to assess the overall practice of legal aid activities for all factors associated with
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legal aid activities in order to identify clearly advantages and limitations in legal aid activities,
identify causes and lessons learned from current practice of legal aid activities in Vietnam.
Fifthly, the study identifies views and proposes a system of solutions to improve the
effectiveness of legal aid activities in the direction of continuing to raise awareness of legal aid;
research to adjust the legal aid model; continue to improve the law and accelerate the
implementation of the 2017 Law on Legal Aid; strengthen human resources for legal aid
activities; socialize legal aid activities; etc.
1.3.2. Research questions and research hypotheses
Question 1: How are you aware of legal aid activities?
Hypothesis: The concept of legal aid activities has basically been shaped but the nature
and characteristics of legal aid activities have not been clearly defined and analyzed. This is
greatly affecting the precise identification of legal aid activities in Vietnam.
Question 2: What components are the legal adjustments to legal aid activities formed
from?
Hypothesis: The awareness and practice of the law governing legal aid activities in
Vietnam is not entirely appropriate, and needs to be changed to be compatible with the new
current conditions.
Question 3: What factors have an impact on the effectiveness of legal aid activity and
the current status of these factors in Vietnam today?
Hypothesis: There are many subjective and objective factors affecting legal aid
activities that affect the effectiveness and quality of legal aid activities in Vietnam, but the
impact of such factors has not been fully identified because some factors are not yet present in
political and legal life in Vietnam, others are not well understood and applied. Therefore, the
impact of these factors is going in an adverse direction, negatively affecting the results of legal
aid activities in Vietnam today.
Question 4: How is legal aid activities in Vietnam going? Appropriate or unsuitable
with the awareness of the objectives, characteristics, roles, subjects, content, forms of legal aid
activities as well as the requirements that legal aid activities in Vietnam need to work towards?
Hypothesis: Legal aid activities in Vietnam have achieved certain results, contributing
to the realization of social policies and guidelines of our Party and State. However, in addition,
the law and practice of legal aid activities under Vietnamese law are still inadequate and
limited due to many objective and subjective reasons.
Question 5: Which views should be derived from to improve the efficiency of legal aid
activities in Vietnam, and what measures should be taken to realize those views?
Hypothesis: The views and solutions that have been applied in recent years have not
been really appropriate and lacked in comprehensiveness. Some have not been implemented
due to insufficient awareness, some other solutions fail to ensure feasibility because of the lack
of guaranteed conditions.
CONCLUSION OF CHAPTER 1
Overview of the research of the thesis topic has basically shown a list of issues that
need further study of the thesis, including: (1) Continuing to research theoretical awareness of the
nature, characteristics, the role of legal aid activities; (2) Studying principles, objectives, subjects of
legal aid activities, subjects of legal aid activities, contents of legal aid activities, forms and methods
of conducting assistance activities juridical; (3) Studying influencing factors and conditions to
ensure the effectiveness of legal aid activities; (4) Researching and assessing the status of legal
adjustment to legal aid activities and practice of legal aid activities in Vietnam, identifying the
advantages and limitations of support activities legal, identifying causes and lessons learned from the
practice of legal aid activities; (5) Identifying perspectives and propose a system of solutions to
10
improve the effectiveness of legal aid activities under the current Vietnamese law. The questions and
research hypotheses of the thesis focus on deciphering the above issues.
Chapter 2
THEORETICAL ISSUES ABOUT LEGAL AID ACTIVITIES UNDER THE LAW
2.1. Concepts, characteristics, roles of legal aid activities
2.1.1. Concept of legal aid activities
The concept of legal aid is as follows: "Legal aid is the work of the state and society
through the activities of specialized legal aid organizations of the state, agencies,
organizations and individuals to provide free legal services to certain subjects or in necessary
cases to compensate and assist beneficiaries, enable them to access and use laws to protect the
legal rights and interests, contributing to ensuring human rights and citizens' rights in
accessing justice and equality before the law.”
2.1.2. Characteristics of legal aid activities
Firstly, legal aid activities are a combination of political, economic and legal factors.
Second, legal aid is a type of interactive activity that is unique.
Thirdly, legal aid is a kind of public administrative service which is under the
responsibility of the state but can be socialized.
2.1.3. Role of legal aid activities
Firstly, legal aid activities contribute to expressing the human nature of the rule of law
state, implementing social policies of the State associated with social justice, and exercising the
power of the people through the state.
Secondly, legal aid is one of the important channels to ensure, promote and protect
human rights and citizens' rights.
Thirdly, legal aid activities act as one of the methods of organizing and implementing
laws, bringing laws into life.
Fourthly, legal aid activities contribute to the promotion of judicial reform,
administrative reform, increase the confidence and support of the people for the operation of
state government and the justice of the law.
Fifthly, legal aid activities create the ability to draw awareness among countries in
ensuring human rights and national governance, thereby promoting mutual understanding,
speeding up the process of international integration in the comprehensive way.
2.2. Subjects, objects, content, form of legal aid activities
2.2.1. Subjects of legal aid activities
The identification of legal aid actors involves the recognition of legal aid models
applied in countries. In general, there are currently three main models of legal aid in the world,
namely: (i) The model of legal aid is completely implemented by the state, (ii) The model of
legal aid is provided and implemented fully by social organizations. (iii) Mixed model.
Thus, basically, legal aid providers are relatively diverse and can be grouped into two
groups:
Group 1: Organizations providing Legal Aid
Group 2: Individuals directly providing Legal Aid
2.2.2. Objects of legal aid
The right to legal aid or the right to access to legal aid is a basic right in the human
rights system in general, a specific right of judicial access (or right to access to justice). Its
implications are the legitimate claims of certain individuals or groups of access to free legal
advice services system based on the provisions of law. The subject of legal aid rights is
11
individuals, while the subjects of legal aid activities are the state and society. Whether or not
legal aid activities have an important and effective social impact depends on identifying the
right beneficiaries of legal aid, on enforcement mechanisms and on developing plans and action
programs based on the rights and interests of the beneficiary as a starting point, and a means
and purpose for all legal aid activities.
2.2.3. Content of legal aid activities
The content of legal aid is the focus that the two parties involved in social assistance
legal aid towards in practical action to achieve the purpose of legal aid. Determining the
content of the legal aid areas is related to the concept of the meaning of the right to legal aid,
the scope of the legal field, as well as the status of legal aid resources and needs of legal aid
beneficiaries.
Following the general trend, compared to the provisions of the 2006 Law on legal aid,
the 2017 Law stipulates in the direction of distinguishing legal aid cases (specific tools related
directly to rights and benefits of legal aid beneficiaries in accordance with the provisions of the
Law on Legal Aid) with simple legal problems (guidance, answers, and provision of legal
information in case of request for legal aid is a simple legal problem). The case of legal aid
must go through the dossier submission and examination process, performed by legal aid
providers. It must be made into a case file and counted into the case of legal aid in the book of
tracking of legal aid cases. Meanwhile, the legal aid does not have to go through the process of
checking records, accepting because it is immediately implemented by the recipient. It is not
recorded and listed as legal aid in the Legal Aid book. At the same time, the 2017 Law has
expanded the scope of the law field to be given legal aid, including:
- Law on criminal affairs, criminal procedure and criminal sentence execution;
- Law on civil affairs, civil procedure and civil judgment execution;
- Law on marriage and family and the law on children;
- Law on administrative affairs, complaints, denunciations and administrative
proceedings;
- Law on land, housing, environment and consumer protection;
- Law on labor, employment, insurance;
- Law on preferential treatment for people with meritorious services to the revolution
and the law on other social preferential policies;
- Other legal fields related to national target programs on hunger eradication and
poverty reduction or directly related to citizens' basic rights and obligations.
2.2.4. Form of legal aid activities
Firstly, participating in the proceedings (especially criminal proceedings)
Secondly, legal advice. This is a form of showing the regular nature of legal aid.
Thirdly, the representation outside the proceedings. According to the most common
understanding, the representative outside the procedure is the activity of a lawyer on behalf of
clients to deal with tasks related to cases received by the lawyer by the scope and content stated
in a legal service contract or as assigned by the agency or organization where the lawyer
practices as an individual working under a labor contract.
In addition, depending on economic, political and social conditions, each country may
provide other forms of legal aid.
2.3. Factors affecting the performance of legal aid activities
2.3.1. Political regimes and social policies of the State
Political system is a concept with very rich connotations, including issues related to
relations between states, related to political goals, correlation of political power, organization
12
and administration of the political system, organization and administration of the state
apparatus in each country.
2.3.2. Level of completion of the law on legal aid
Legal aid as a public opinion, social policy and legal aid activities in reality has a clear
gap. Legal aid legislation plays a role in narrowing that gap, and creates a channel for legal aid
requests to come to life through the institutionalization of such requirements and establishing
sequences, procedure for the implementation in practice. As the society increasingly honors the
law as a result of freedom and equality, the need for Legal Aid of the poor and people in
special circumstances becomes indispensable and objective and requires changes in the process
of adjustment and intervention from the perspective of state power.
2.3.3. Resources to provide legal aid activities
The resources to provide legal aid activities are factors that directly affect the ability to
make legal requirements into actual results of legal aid.
Resources for implementing legal aid activities are a wide range of requirements. The
most common expression is the level of development of the economy revealed through the
indicators of the growth rate, the level of narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor, the
stability of the growth cycle, the level of safety of the economic environment to meet the goal
of sustainable development, the degree of combining economic development with social
security, etc.
2.3.4. Social environment
Although social and environmental factors do not play a decisive role, they significantly
affect the needs, scope and effectiveness of legal aid activities.
The social environment is primarily expressed at the level of social consensus and
common sense of community responsibility. In a humane society, with a high degree of
consensus, the majority of people have an understanding of their responsibilities to the
community, and have support and trust in social policies and policies of the state.
CONCLUSION OF CHAPTER 2
Legal aid is a special kind of public and social service, delivered in most countries
around the world. Legal aid is the work of the State and society through the operation of
specialized legal aid organizations of the State, agencies, organizations and individuals to
provide free legal services for certain subjects or in necessary cases to compensate and support
beneficiaries, enable them to access and use the law to protect their lawful rights and interests,
contributing to protecting ensure human rights and citizens' rights in accessing justice and
equality before the law.
Unlike many public administrative services, legal aid has characteristics in nature and
plays a very important role in social life in many ways. Legal aid is provided by most countries
in the world as one of the manifestations of the humanity, humanity, democracy of the state and
modern society.
Chapter 3
ACTUAL SITUATION OF LEGAL AID ACTIVITIES UNDER VIETNAMESE LAW
3.1. Actual situation of legal aid in Vietnam
3.1.1. Process of developing laws on legal aid in Vietnam
3.1.1.1. From 1945 to 2006
Immediately after the August Revolution of 1945 was successful, although the
revolutionary government had many practical measures to stabilize and develop the country,
bringing benefits to the poor, virtually no legal documents specifically regulate the subjects, the
form, the scope, the methods and the sequence of free legal aid for the poor and the policy
13
beneficiaries in terms of adjusting laws. Until before 1986, although there were many activities
that were essentially legal aid for people free of charge, associated with conducting or
participating in court proceedings and the law is adjusted to different degrees, there is no
official legal document acknowledging the legal aid institution. Even the term legal aid does
not yet exist in the legal life of the nation.
Since the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (1986), along with
economic renewal, our Party and State have advocated building a socialist rule of law State of
the people, by the people and for the people to "well implement the socialist democracy, fully
promote the people's mastery", "for the sake of the rich people, strong country, fair, democratic
and civilized society".
In particular, in 1997, on the basis of piloting legal aid activities in a number of
provinces, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 734 dated September 6, 1997 establishing
legal aid organizations for the poor and social policy beneficiaries, creating a basis for the
formation of a system of specialized legal aid for the state, thereby creating a new form of
occupation, complementing the diversity of the legal services market in Vietnam, creating a
balance between the market for legal services with a fee (market share of lawyers) and the
market of free legal services (market share of the state and society).
Along with Decision 734/TTg, there were 16 documents of Ministry of Justice,
Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs
promulgated by Minister of Justice to concretize and guide the implementation of Decision
734/TTg. In addition, the relevant legal fields such as law on lawyers, criminal procedure law,
civil procedure law also have adjustments in the direction compatible with new social relations
on legal aid.
3.1.1.2. From 2006 to 2017
Along with the great achievements achieved in the process of national renewal, legal
aid activities have become an increasingly common concern of the society, becoming a basic
orientation in the social policies of the Party and the State. Resolution No. 48-NQ/TW dated
May 24, 2005, on the Strategy for building and perfecting the Vietnamese legal system till
2010, with orientations toward 2020 and Resolution No. 49-NQ/TW dated June 2, 2005 on the
Strategy on Judicial Reform to 2020, encouraging the development of the legal profession in
the context of international integration have clearly reflected this spirit.
Institutionalizing the Party's lines and views and aiming to create a solid legal basis for
the development of legal aid in Vietnam, on June 29, 2006, the 11th National Assembly at the
9th Session The Law of Legal Aid is concurrent with the Law of Lawyer. The establishment of
these two Laws consistently reflected the Party's and State's views on legal adjustment of Legal
Aid and assistance to protect the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, especially the poor
and policy beneficiaries, ethnic minorities.
3.1.1.3. New points of the 2017 Law on Legal Aid
In order to overcome the aforementioned situation, on June 20, 2017, the XIV National
Assembly passed the 2017 Law on Legal Aid No. 11/2017/QH14 (effective from January 1,
2018) opening a new period for legal aid with lots of hot new content. The 2017 Law on Legal
Aid is organized into 8 chapters and 48 articles on legal aid beneficiaries, legal aid
organizations, legal aid providers, legal aid activities and responsibilities of agencies,
organizations and individuals for legal aid activities. New contents of the 2017 Law compared
to the 2006 Law and related documents are presented in the following basic points:
Firstly, it clearly affirms the responsibility of the state in legal aid and clearly
distinguishes this activity from voluntary legal services of social organizations.
Secondly, expanding the scope of legal aid beneficiaries according to specific principles
14
and criteria, consistent with the nature of legal aid and the country's specific conditions.
Thirdly, improving the quality of services and professionalize legal aid activities
through standardizing the contingent of legal aid providers, and stipulating criteria for
participation in legal aid for organizations practicing law, providing legal advice and managing
the quality of legal aid cases.
Fourthly, focusing on providing legal aid cases according to the nature of legal aid
activities.
Fifthly, supplementing regulations on the order of legal aid to create favorable
conditions for legal aid beneficiaries, especially the protection of legal rights and interests in
legal proceedings.
Sixthly, enhance the role of the Department of Justice through signing contracts with
organizations participating in the implementation of legal aid.
Seventhly, strengthening the coordination mechanism between agencies and
organizations involved in legal aid activities, especially clearly defining the responsibilities of
the procedure-conducting agencies.
Eighthly, streamlining branches of the state legal aid center in order to improve
operational efficiency, and strictly regulate conditions for establishing branches.
Thus, with the new points mentioned above, the 2017 Law on Legal Aid provides a
legal framework for the sustainable development of professional legal aid, effectively using
state and commune resources to provide legal services to disadvantaged people who are unable
to pay for legal services and policy beneficiaries for timely Legal Aid, creating a fundamental
change in the quality of legal aid services.
3.1.2. Overview of international law on legal aid and compatibility with Vietnamese
laws
Judicial practice and human rights assurance in the world have shown that legal aid
activities are particularly important in ensuring and realizing human rights in general and the
right to legal aid in particular. In the international legal system, the right to access to legal aid
is stipulated in some international conventions to which Vietnam has acceded and is a
member such as: International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the
Convention against Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the International Convention
on the Rights of the Child. According to the European Convention on the Rights and
Fundamental of Human Rights, adopted in 1950, the governments of member states are
obliged to provide free legal aid to their citizens in certain types of cases if they are
economically unable to pay for legal services. The International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, adopted in 1966 (Vietnam joined in 1982), asserted at Point d, Clause 3,
Article 14: "In the judgment on any criminal charges against a peson, that person has all of
the following guarantees on equal terms:”
3.2. Practical implementation of legal aid activities according to Vietnamese law
3.2.1. Practical implementation of legal aid activities before the promulgation of the
Law on Legal Aid 2017
3.2.1.1 Major results
Firstly, the results in the organization of legal aid and legal aid providers.
According to data published by the Ministry of Justice in the Summary Report of 08
years of implementation of the Law on Legal Aid, by 2015, there were 63 state legal aid centers
nationwide and 424 organizations registered for legal aid. The total number of civil servants,
officials and other employees of the State's legal aid system is 1,313 people, including 572
legal aid professionals, 490 people who have been trained as lawyers, and 63 people who are
exempt from lawyer training. Legal assistants have a bachelor's degree or higher degree, of
15
which 31 have a master's degree in law. On average, there are 09 legal assistants per center; of
which, 26 provinces/cities1 have 10 or more legal assistants (accounting for 41.27%); 29
provinces/cities2 have 05 to 09 legal assistants (accounting for 46.03%) and 08 provinces/cities3
have less than 05 legal assistants (accounting for 12.7%). Provinces nationwide have focused
on building and developing a network of legal aid collaborators from provincial to district
levels. Currently, there are over 10,700 legal aid collaborators nationwide, of which 1,136 legal
aid collaborators are lawyers and 174 legal consultants are registered to participate in legal aid,
the remaining are other legal aid agents [9]. With the above force, the system of legal aid
organizations of the State, especially the legal aid team plays a very important role in
protecting the legal rights and benefits of the legal aid beneficiaries, contributing to the
dissemination and education of laws, bringing laws to life, improving legal knowledge,
respecting and obeying laws, protecting justice, ensuring fairness, security and order in
localities, especially in localities with difficult socio-economic conditions, mountainous and
remote areas, where the contingent of lawyers is small.
Also according to the Summary Report of 08 years of implementation of the 2006 Law
on Legal Aid of the Ministry of Justice, localities have actively lobbied and encouraged law-
practicing organizations and legal consultancy organizations under socio-political
organizations, socio-political-professional organizations, social-professional organizations
registered for legal aid. As of December 31, 2014, the whole country had 69 law firms, 294
lawyer's offices and 61 legal consultancy centers registered to participate in legal aid. In
addition to the team of lawyers and legal consultants registered to participate in legal aid, there
are about 9,400 other collaborators providing legal aid. Collaborators have carried out a total of
471,957 cases4, of which lawyers who are collaborators perform 126,426 cases, including
37,999 cases participating in legal proceedings, 84,688 legal consulting cases, 337 cases
represented outside of the proceedings, 546 mediation cases and 2,856 others.
Secondly, results in the implementation of specific legal aid cases.
From 2007 to the end of 2014, the Legal Aid system has implemented 920,292 legal aid
cases, including 77,928 cases in the criminal field, 196,769 cases in the civil field, 101,746
cases in marriage and family, 70,988 in administrative affairs, 22,035 in land, 20,298 in labor,
124,963 cases in the field of preferential law for people with meritorious services, social
preferential policies, and 98,872 cases in other legal areas, and 5,693 other cases not divided by
areas of legal aid [76, p.27]. Based on the form of legal aid, the rate of case implementation is
as follows: 51,408 cases implemented in the form of participating in legal proceedings (12,756
cases representing and protecting legal rights and benefits for people legal aid; 38,652 cases of
defense); 856,218 cases made in the form of legal advice, 1,030 cases made in the form of non-
1
Bac Giang, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Phuoc, Ca Mau, Dong Nai, Hau Giang,
Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Kien Giang, Lam Dong, Lao Cai, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Ninh
Thuan, Phu Tho , Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien Hue,
Vinh Long, Can Tho, Hai Phong, Hanoi.
2
An Giang, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Bac Kan, Bac Ninh, Binh Duong, Binh Thuan, Cao Bang,
Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dien Bien, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Tinh, Hai Duong, Khanh Hoa,
Lang Son, Long An, Ninh Binh, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La,
Tay Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Yen Bai, Ho Chi Minh City.
3
Da Nang, Phu Yen, Vinh Phuc, Tien Giang, Lai Chau, Kon Tum, Ha Nam and Ha Giang.
4
Most of the cases are done by other legal aid collaborators through mobile legal aid tours
in the form of simple legal advice and content.
16
procedural representation, 1,711 cases of conciliation and 5,870 other cases, the remaining
4,055 cases undivided in the form of legal aid [9].
Of the 920,292 cases of legal aid mentioned above, there are 987,949 beneficiaries of
legal aid, including 269,965 poor people, 132,331 people with meritorious services to the
revolution, 15,678 lonely and helpless elderly people, 37,880 children children with no support,
13,390 people with disabilities, 540 people with HIV without support, 242,351 ethnic
minorities, 1,398 victims of trafficking crimes and 274,416 people eligible for other legal aid
[9] .
Thirdly, the results of the coordination in providing legal aid and mobilizing financial
resources for legal aid activities.
In order to improve the effectiveness of legal aid activities, ensuring and attracting legal
aid resources is respected. Under the provisions of the 2006 Law, funding for legal aid
activities comes from two main sources: the state budget (including central, local and ODA
budgets) and socialized financial resources mobilized from Vietnamese and foreign
organizations and individuals. Accordingly, the state budget is allocated for legal aid activities
to increase each year5 [9], along with clearly defining expenditure items, creating a mechanism
for the legal aid centers to manage and use the funding effectively. In addition, the integration
of legal aid activities with national target programs on poverty reduction also significantly
enhances the funding for legal aid activities. The mobilization of society's contribution to
funding has increased. Especially, before 2010, funding from international organizations
through projects to support and develop legal aid activities has contributed to increasing
funding, creating more opportunities for legal aid beneficiaries to access free legal advice
services.
3.2.1.2. Limitations and inadequacies
Firstly, limitations on the organization providing legal aid and legal aid providers.
In the 10 years of implementing the Law on Legal Aid, it is evident that the number of
organizations and legal aid providers is not enough to provide timely and sufficient Legal Aid
needs in some areas and regions. Nationwide, there are only 572 legal assistants and 1,136
lawyers registered to participate in legal aid and inadequately distributed, concentrated in areas
with high socio-economic development with low demand for free legal aid, while in difficult
areas, socio-economic retardation, the need for legal aid is high, the number of organizations
and legal aid providers is small. The quality of human resources is still inadequate, affecting
the quality of legal aid services.
Secondly, restrictions on the implementation of specific legal aid cases.
The practice of providing legal aid shows that a very common situation is that the
participation in legal proceedings accounts for a small proportion of the total number of legal
aid cases (accounting for 5-10% of the total number of legal aid cases. legal documents) and is
primarily done by collaborators who are lawyers. According to data from the implementation
of the Strategy to 2013, the number of cases participating in the proceedings accounted for only
5.8%; cases at Central Headquarters and Branches accounted for 23.2% of the total number of
legal aid cases. Of the total number of cases participating in the proceedings, 15,954 cases were
performed by collaborators who are lawyers (accounting for 65.6%), 8,369 cases were carried
out by legal assistants (accounting for 34.4%). There were legal aid professionals who do not
5
According to the Summary Report of 08 years of implementation of the Ministry of
Justice's Law on Legal Assistance, the average budget for legal aid each year is VND
98,103,398,000; Particularly in 2013, the total funding from the central and local levels for
legal aid activities was 145. 109,537,000 VND.
17
participate in any proceedings in the whole year. Of the total number of legal aid cases, the
number of legal proceedings accounts for only 4% [8, p.5]. Most legal aid cases are juveniles -
defendants must be appointed by the court. Organizations providing legal aid of the State
hardly provide legal aid in cases where suspects and defendants commit crimes with the highest
legal penalty frame, which is death penalty. Especially, if the number of legal aid cases
involving in legal proceedings is compared with the total number of cases that the procedure-
conducting agencies settle each year, the rate is very small.
Thirdly, the limitations in coordinating the implementation of legal aid and mobilizing
financial resources for legal aid activities.
The coordination between agencies and organizations on legal aid is not really tight.
Prior to 2016, some legal proceedings did not accept legal aid to conduct legal defense in the
Court because this title was not specified in the Criminal Procedure Code, although in the Law
on Legal Aid. The Government has provided very clear regulations on legal aid to participate in
the proceedings.
Funds to ensure legal aid work is limited. During the 08 years of implementing the Law
on Legal Aid (2007 - 2014), the total budget for legal aid is VND 784,827,190,000, on average,
the budget for legal aid each year is about VND 98,103,398,000, of which, local budget is
VND 586,140,000,000, accounting for 74.68% of the total budget; Central budget support, support
projects and other sources are VND 198,687,190,000, accounting for 25.32% (in 2013, the total
funding for legal aid activities at both central and local levels is VND 145,109,537,000 accounts for
0.0048% of GDP6; meanwhile, in some countries around the world the total funding for this activity is
relatively large [10]. The allocation of expenditures from the central and local budgets for the Legal Aid
is also unreasonable. At the local level, the budget is mainly focused on salary and other expenses, and
funding for professional activities is limited.
3.2.2. Practical implementation of legal aid activities after one year of implementing
the 2017 Law
Up to now (January 2019), the new Law on Legal Aid has been implemented for 01
year. The time is not long, making trying to give comprehensive analysis and evaluation of
legal aid activities based on the 2017 Law will be unrealistic and very easy to fall into
guessing, subjective thinking. However, to a certain extent, initial results can also be identified,
at the same time, it can detect some inadequacies, obstacles both in terms of institution and
institutional application in legal aid activities.
3.2.2.1 Major results
In order to implement the Law on Legal Aid 2017 dated December 15, 2017, the
Government issued Decree No. 144/2017/ND-CP detailing a number of articles of the Law on
Legal Aid. In 2018, the Minister of Justice signed to issue 04 legal documents (01 Joint
Circular; 03 Circulars of the Minister of Justice), especially the coordination to issue the Joint
Circular No. 10/2018/TTLT/BTP-BCA-BQP-BTC-VKSNDTC-TANDTC dated June 29, 2018
created a breakthrough in the coordination of legal aid in legal proceedings. All cases of legal
aid regardless of whether they require legal aid or not are transferred by legal proceedings to
the State Legal Aid Center. Joint Circular No. 10 will limit the abandonment of subjects, bring
the 2017 Law on Legal Aid to life, and protect the legal rights and interests of legal aid
beneficiaries.
3.2.2.2 Problems and difficulties
6
Vietnam's GDP in 2013 was estimated at USD 143,443 billion, equivalent to VND
3,017,467 billion. The exchange rate of USD to VND in 2013 was USD 1 = VND 21,036
according to Notice No. 2309/TB-KBNN dated November 1, 2013. of the State Treasury.
18