NGO provides legal aid to over 1,200 people in its first year

Ljubljana – The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy has provided free legal aid to more than 1,200 people since it was established a year ago. The legal advocacy NGO has also been active when it comes to legislative amendments and appeals, the organisation said.

In the past year, the NGO drafted an amendment to Article 39 of the infectious diseases act, filed nearly 160 applications in misdemeanour proceedings and invoked extraordinary legal remedies with the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office in almost 50 cases, the NGO’s press release said.

The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy has so far been successful in 36 applications for judicial protection. Since its establishment, it has filed 16 reports with the Information Commissioner, conducted 21 observations of protests, commented on four bills, succeeded in a constitutional review petition, filed a criminal complaint against the director of the Government Communications Office, Uroš Urbanija, and issued seven appeals to various institutions.

The NGO also provides answers to frequently asked questions on its website. Its members aim to increase legal knowledge and to inform individuals about the appropriate course of action to take in cases where their constitutionally guaranteed rights might be violated.

The NGO includes 56 legal professionals and law firms, as well as many other individuals who bring in expertise in law, human rights protection, advocacy and other fields.

The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy was established by the Legal Centre for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (PIC), Amnesty International Slovenija, the Danes Je Nov Dan institute for boosting political participation and transparency and the Open institute for diversity culture, with the aim of strengthening constitutional rights and protecting against unlawful conduct by the authorities.

On the occasion of its first anniversary, the NGO added that with all the support it had received this year, it remained determined to continue and step up its efforts. “There are still many open issues and problems in the area of democracy and the rule of law, and we need to work further, more intensively and with even more determination.”

The founders of the NGO, Katarina Bervar Sternad, Maja Cimerman, Anuška Podvršič, Nataša Posel, Barbara Rajgelj and Jasna Zakonjšek, have been shortlisted for the Slovenian Woman of the Year 2021, a title conferred by the women’s magazine Jana/Zarja and its readership. The recipient is to be announced soon.