ULAB Law - English

The Legal Aid Law
The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 10, 2016
The 9th Wanning Day of Pyartho, 1377, M.E.
(18th January, 2016)
The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw hereby enacts this Law.

Chapter I
Title and Definition
1. This Law shall be called the Legal Aid Law.
2. The expression contained in this Law shall have the meanings given here under:
(a) Legal Aid means hiring a lawyer, giving legal awareness, tendering advice, giving assistance and information for claimants who are entitled to request legal aid.
(b) Claimant who have the Right to Claim Legal Aid means persons in poverty, children, women, persons in need of special care, elderly people, persons with disabilities, AIDS patients or persons with other highly infectious disease, Stateless persons, political asylum seekers, foreigners, migrants, migrant workers, refugees and victims who are accused of, detained, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned due to any criminal offence; or victims of crime; or criminal witnesses who claim assistance for any unusual reason.
(c) Legal Aid Body means the Union Legal Aid Body, the Region or State Legal Aid Body, the Self-Administered Division or the Self-Administered Zone Legal Aid Body, the District Legal Aid Body or the Township Legal Aid Body formed under this Law.
(d) Chairman means the Chairman of relevant Legal Aid Body.
(e) Lawyer means an Advocate or a High Grade Pleader.
(f) Legal Aid Provider means Lawyer or a Paralegal providing legal aid.
(g) Legal Aid Lawyer means a Lawyer participating in Legal Aid Body and the lawyer assigned or hired by the Legal Aid Body to provide legal aid.
(h) Paralegal means a person officially recognized and assigned by the Legal Aid Body to tender legal advice and educate legal knowledge without charge under the supervision of the legal aid lawyer.
(i) Person in poverty means a person defined as the poor who cannot afford to hire a lawyer to conduct in criminal cases in accord with Law.
(j) Child means a person who has not attained the age of 18 years.
(k) Person with Disabilities means a person who suffers long-term the physical, visual, utterance, hearing, intellectual, mental, intelligent, one or more sensory impairment by birth or not.
(l) Recognized Organization means an organization agreed to cooperate with the Legal Aid Body.

Chapter II
Objective
3. The objectives of this Law are as follows:
(a) to enjoy the right to equality, freedom and justice in providing legal aid in accord with this Law;
(b) to receive legal aid for the right of defence and the right of appeal in criminal cases in accord with Law;
(c) to hold educational discussions for the public to understand and practise the legal aid services;
(d) to upgrade the Rule of Law by transparency and fairness in resolving criminal legal issues;
(e) to reduce the period of unnecessary arrest in custodies and prisons and to nullify unlawful arrest during investigation and inquiry;
(f) to support the accurate and rapid judgment of the cases;
(g) to support crime prevention;
(h) to carry out in accord with the basic principles and guidelines on legal aid in criminal justice adopted by General Assembly of the United Nations.

Chapter III
Basic Principles
4. The basic principles of this Law are as follows:
(a) emergence of a sustainable effectively applicable Legal Aid system to the public in criminal justice;
(b) educating the public to enhance legal knowledge in order to prevent committing crime;
(c) providing legal aid to the accused, defendant and convicted persons for an offence;
(d) providing legal aid to the victims of crime;
(e) providing legal aid to criminal witnesses who request assistance for any specific reason;
(f) providing legal aid to all claimants who are entitled to request legal aid irrespective of race, religion, belief, age, gender and nationality;
(g) assess to fair and effective legal aid promptly in all criminal justice process;
(h) informing the legal aid system and related information to the public;
(i) allowing the legal aid providers to carry out independently in accord with Law and to protect them.

Chapter IV
Formation of Union Legal Aid Body, Duties and Powers thereof
5. The Chief Justice of the Union shall, in coordination with the Union Government, form the Union Legal Aid Body as follows:

(a) a person who is an eminent jurist Chairman
(b) a representative who is not lower than the position of Director from the Supreme Court of the Union member
(c) a representative from Union Attorney General’s Office who is not lower than the position of Director assigned by Attorney General of the Union member
(d) a representative who is not lower than the position of Director assigned by the Minister of Ministry of Home Affair member
(e) a representative who is not lower than the position of Director assigned by the Minister of Ministry of Social Welfare, Rescue and Resettlement member
(f) a Law Professor from any university under the Ministry of Education member
(g) two representatives who have experience and knowledge of legal aid services from civil societies and non governmental organizations member
(h) a representative who is not lower than the position of Director from Foreign Economic Relation Department, Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development member
(i) an advocate who has practised at least 15 years nominated by the Bar Council and approved by the Chief Justice of the Union secretary
6. Duties and Powers of the Union Legal Aid Body are as follows:
(a) supervising different levels of Legal Aid Body and laying down policy for legal aid services;
(b) identifying the offences for which legal aid is available;
(c) setting the regulations to be complied by different levels of Legal Aid Body;
(d) supervising the Legal Aid Bodies in providing services to be conformity with Law;
(e) drawing up the plan and implementing it to spread the legal and judicial awareness within general public;
(f) determining the ways of legal aid to support the claimants who are entitled to request legal aid and providing public awareness;
(g) determining the criteria to be considered as a person in poverty for the claimants who are entitled to request legal aid;
(h) assisting the claimants who are entitled to request legal aid for revision, appeal and miscellaneous applications in criminal cases;
(i) setting the regulations, duties and functions for legal aid providers and supervising them;
(j) setting the necessary regulations for allowing as a recognized organization if organizations desirous to perform legal aid apply to cooperate in Legal Aid;
(k) supervising the operations of legal aid services of recognized organizations;
(l) assisting the different levels of Legal Aid Body to undertake legal aid services independently in accord with Law;
(m) submitting the special circumstances relating to legal aid services to the Chief Justice of the Union from time to time.
7. The Union Legal Aid Body may, if necessary, appoint advisors not more than three persons. Such person may be allowed to attend the meeting but not allow to cast vote.

Chapter V
Formation of Region or State Legal Aid Body, Duties and Powers Thereof
8. The Chief Justice of the respective Region or State shall, after coordinating with the Chief Minister of the Region or State, form the Region or State Legal Aid Body as follows:

(a) a person who is an eminent jurist Chairman
(b) a representative who is not lower than the position of Deputy Director from the High Court of Region or State member
(c) a representative who is not lower than the position of Deputy Director from office of the Region or State Advocate General member
(d) a representative who is not lower than the position of deputy director from the Region or State Administration Department member
(e) two representatives who have experience and knowledge of legal aid services from civil societies and non-governmental organizations members
(f) a Head of a Region or State, Ministry of Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement member
(g) an advocate who has practiced at least 10 years nominated by the Bar Council and confirmed by Chief Justice of the Region or State secretary
9. Duties and Powers of the Region or State Legal Aid Body are as follows:
(a) supervising, cooperating and coordinating with Self-Administered Region or Self-Administered Zone Legal Aid Body, District Legal Aid Body and Township Legal Aid Body in its Region or State;
(b) drawing up the plan and implementing it to spread the legal and judicial awareness within general public;
(c) coordinating for cooperation of legal aid providers, civil societies and non-governmental organizations in performing the legal aid services;
(d) scrutinizing and allowing an application in accord with regulations as a recognized organization if the organizations desirous to perform Legal Aid service apply to cooperate in legal aid.
(e) supervising the operations of legal aid service of recognized organizations;
(f) arranging to award the remuneration and allowance for legal aid bodies and legal aid providers in its Region or State.

Chapter VI
Formation of Self-Administered Division or Self-Administered Zone Legal Aid Body and District Legal Aid Body, Duties and Powers thereof
10. Among the Township Legal Aid Body formed, under section 12, by Region or State Chief Justice:
(a) Township Legal Aid Body in a township where administration office of Self-Administered Division or Self-Administered Zone is located shall jointly undertake as Self-Administered Division or Self-Administered Zone Legal Aid Body if it is a Self-Administered Division or Self-Administered Zone;
(b) Township Legal Aid Body in a township where district administration office is located shall jointly undertake as District Legal Aid Body.
11. Duties and Powers of Self-Administered Division or Self-Administered Zone Legal Aid Body or District Legal Aid Body are as follows:
(a) supervising, cooperating and coordinating with Township Legal Aid Bodies in the Self-Administered Division or Self-Administered Zone or District;
(b) educating to the public and making discussion to understand and trust in legal aid;
(c) coordinating for cooperation of Legal Aid Providers, civil societies and non-governmental organizations in providing legal aid;
(d) allowing, with the approval of respective Region or State Legal Aid Body, as a recognized organization after scrutinizing an application in accordance with regulations if the organizations desirous to perform legal aid services apply to cooperate in legal aid;
(e) drawing up the plan and implementing it to spread the legal and judicial awareness within general public;
(f) supervising the operations of legal aid service of recognized organizations;
(g) arranging to award the remuneration and allowance for legal aid bodies and legal aid providers in Self-Administered Division or Self-Administered Zone or District.

Chapter VII
Formation of Township Legal Aid Body and Duties and Powers Thereof
12. The Chief Justice of the High Court of State or Region shall form Township Legal Aid Body as follows:

(a) a person who is an eminent jurist and respected by the public in the township Chairman
(b) two residents who have experience in legal affairs and respected by the public in the township members
(c) a representative who has experience and knowledge of legal aid services from civil societies and non-governmental organizations member
(d) a lawyer who has practised at least 3 years nominated by the Region or State Advocate General and approved by the Chief Justice of the Union secretary
13. Duties and Powers of Township Legal Aid Body are as follows:
(a) drawing up plan and implementing it to spread the legal and judicial awareness within public;
(b) educating to the public and making discussion to understand and trust in legal aid;
(c) coordinating for cooperation of legal aid providers, civil societies and non-governmental organizations in providing the legal aid;
(d) allowing, with the approval of Region or State Legal Aid Body, as a recognized organization after scrutinizing the application in accord with the regulations if the organizations desirous to perform legal aid services apply to cooperate in legal aid;
(e) performing legal aid services in accord with the guidance and stipulations of Union Legal Aid Body, respective Region or State Legal Aid Body;
(f) assigning to and supervising, with the approval of Region or State Legal Aid Body, legal aid providers according to the legal aid services;
(g) submitting its monthly work performance report to the Region or State Legal Aid Body.

Chapter VIII
Term and Substitution of the Legal Aid Body and Members
14. (a) The term of the different levels of the Legal Aid Body is five years from the day of its forming.
(b) Except the members who are civil service personnel and assigned ex officio, any member shall not serve as a member more than two consecutive terms.
15. (a) If there is a vacant post of the member in the different levels of the legal aid body, it may be substituted and appointed according to vacancy.
(b) The term of such substituted member is up to the expiry of the remaining term of office.
16. The members of Legal Aid Body shall be removed from being a member if the following situations occur:
(a) expiry of the term of Legal Aid Body;
(b) submission of written resignation, his own volition, to the Chairman;
(c) if not less than two-third of the members submit to remove from the membership by reason that one member is unsuitable to assign duty:
(i) making decision to remove from the membership by the Union Chief Justice if there is sufficient ground after making the necessary investigation when they are members of the Union, Region or State Legal Aid Body;
(ii) making decision to remove from the membership by the relevant Region or State Chief Justice if there is sufficient ground after making the necessary investigation when they are members of the Township Legal Aid Body;
(d) violation of rules and regulations to be complied;
(e) inability to serve his duty according to any permanent physical or mental defect under the examination of Medical Board prescribed by Law.
(f) Death.

Chapter IX
Claiming Legal Aid and Providing Legal Aid
17. Claimants who are entitled to request legal aid may submit and request to the relevant Legal Aid Body in accord with the stipulations if they desire to receive the legal aid.
18. The relevant Legal Aid Body when receiving the submission under Section 17:
(a) shall perform to provide the required legal aid if it is in conformity with the stipulations;
(b) may refuse to provide the legal aid by describing the reason if it is not in conformity with the stipulations.
19. Claimants who are entitled to request legal aid may submit and request to the different levels of Legal Aid Body if it is refused under sub-section (b) of Section 18.

Chapter X
Application and Assigning Duty as a Legal Aid Provider or Recognized Organization
20. The lawyers may submit and apply, in accord with the stipulations to assign duty as a legal aid lawyer in the Legal Aid Bodies.
21. The following persons may submit and apply, in accord with the stipulations, to assign duty as a paralegal in the Legal Aid Bodies:
(a) person who is Law undergraduate in any government recognized university and Law graduate from any of such university;
(b) person who has experience in legal proceeding, Law firm or department relating to law although he is not LL.B degree holder.
22. Any organization that agreed to cooperate with the Legal Aid Body may apply, in accord with the stipulations, to the relevant Legal Aid Body for enabling to cooperate as a recognized organization in legal aid services.
23. The relevant Legal Aid Body shall submit with remark, to the different levels of respective Legal Aid Body after scrutinizing the application made under Section 22.
24. The Legal Aid Provider and recognized organizations shall abide by the provisions in this Law and rules and regulations of Legal Aid Bodies.

Chapter XI
Legal Aid Services
25. In respect of the detained or arrested persons, the legal aid provider shall:
(a) carry out to inform the families of the detained or arrested person in police station or other place and to provide legal aid in accord with this Law if necessary;
(b) provide legal aid for enabling to defense on the request of remand at the Court or under arrest in custody with remand;
(c) provide legal aid for enabling to defense at the investigation or inspection by the police force or relevant organization to be prosecuted;
(d) provide the required legal aid during the trial at the Court.
26. In respect of the accused who is convicted, the legal aid provider shall:
(a) provide the required legal aid in the case of appeal, revision and miscellaneous applications;
(b) provide legal aid for various relief to be entitled to receive by the persons who are sent to the police custody, prison or agriculture, breeding, production and vocational training centre.
27. In respect of the accused, defendant, convicted person and confined person, the legal aid provider shall:
(a) if there is language difficulty in communication although he is a citizen, carry out through the person who understands the language;
(b) if he is a foreigner, explain through an interpreter that he can access to the legal aid and inform the relevant consulate through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without delay;
(c) if he is a person with disabilities carry out through the expert who understands the gesture, sign language and braille of him.
28. In providing legal aid, it shall carry out with regard not to affect public peace and tranquility and the rule of law, and not to lose the legal rights.
29. It shall provide legal aid to the criminal witness who requests the aid for any special reason in providing legal aid.
30. The legal aid providers shall report the legal aid matters that are performed by them to the different levels of relevant Legal Aid Body.
31. The legal aid provider shall take priority to access legal aid to the children, persons with disabilities, women, AIDS patient and persons with other highly infectious diseases among the claimants who can access to legal aid.
32. If the Legal Aid Body decides to provide the legal aid, it shall assign a legal aid provider in pretrial and post-trial at ordinary court or different levels of higher courts to assist the accused, victim of crime and criminal witness. If there are more than one accused, the Legal Aid Body may be assigned if necessary.

Chapter XII
Finance
33. The Union Legal Aid Body shall, in order to set the necessary budget accounts for different levels of Legal Aid Body in the Annual Union Budget Bill, submit to the Supreme Court of the Union.
34. (a) The Union Legal Aid Body may scrutinize and accept the donated money or properties from foreign persons or official organizations and the different levels of Legal Aid Body may scrutinize and accept the donated money or properties from local persons or official organizations.
(b) The accepted donated money and properties shall be entered into the asset account of the body by submitting step by step in accord with the procedure.
35. The different Levels of legal Aid Body shall:
(a) carry out the accounts, and records to be transparent for the well-wishers and public after incurring the expenditure in accord with the existing financial rules in budget expenditure;
(b) be inspected by the respective Audit Office in accord with the stipulations.
36. The Union Legal Aid Body shall stipulate the emolument and allowance for the members who are not civil service personnel, consultants and, legal aid providers assigned in different levels of Legal Aid Body with the approval of the Supreme Court of the Union.

Chapter XIII
Supervising the Legal Aid Providers
37. The Union Legal Aid Body shall:
(a) stipulate the required conditions in rendering certificate to the legal aid providers;
(b) supervise the legal aid providers not to demand any fee or benefit from the claimants who request legal aid;
(c) supervise the legal aid providers against committing corruption;
(d) if getting information that any fact contained in sub-sections (a), (b) and (c) is violated by the legal aid providers, shall direct the body consisting of three persons from different levels of Legal Aid Body who are assigned duty by the Union Legal Aid Body to inquire such provider and submit it;
(e) carry out to take action against such legal aid provider according to the occurrence of inquiry contained in sub-section (d).

Chapter XVI
Miscellaneous
38. The Courts, Law Offices, Myanmar Police Force, Prisons Department and Prosecution Bodies shall cooperate with the relevant Legal Aid Body to access to legal aid for the claimants who are entitled to request the legal aid.
39. If the occurrence of performing for own interests, breach of work disciplines and not performing the functions duly and properly by the legal aid providers, they shall be inquired and taken action in accord with stipulations.
40. The Chief Justice of the Union may form required various civil service organization for the different levels of Legal Aid Body by drawing the organizational set-up of civil service with the approval of the Union Government.
41. The person who is not civil service personnel serving the legal aid service in the Legal Aid Body in accord with this Law shall be presumed as a public servant under Section 21 of Penal Code.
42. The relevant government departments and government organizations shall assist if it is requested for necessary assistance by the different levels of Legal Aid Body under this Law.
43. The Union Legal Aid Body shall assist, if necessary, in applying the writ relating to the right of the person who are in poverty, children, women and persons with disabilities.
44. The Union Legal Aid Body shall ask the technical reports from the different levels of Legal Aid Body for enabling to review its functions.
45. The Union Legal Aid Body shall submit the functional report of legal aid to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and the Union Government twice a year.
46. The different levels of Legal Aid Body shall convene the meetings in accord with the stipulations.
47. The activities of legal aid service performed by individual and organization with their own plan shall not be applied with this Law.
48. In implementing the functions contained in this Law:
(a) the Supreme Court of the Union may issue rules, regulations and bye-laws;
(b) the Union Legal Aid Body may issue the notifications, orders, directives and procedures.
I hereby sign under the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

Sd/
Thein Sein
President
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar

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