UNDP is committed to fostering pro bono publico practice in Kyrgyzstan

Jun 24, 2015

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – On June 24, UNDP hosted an international conference with participation of key representatives from the Ministry of Justice, law firms, international and non-governmental organizations to discuss ways and prospects of implementing pro bono publico practice in Kyrgyzstan. Translated directly from the Latin, pro bono publico means “for the public good,” and implies professional services of the practicing lawyers, free of charge, provided primarily to non-for profit organizations or individuals, who are not in a position to afford them otherwise.

Aziz Usupov, UNDP Consultant has underlined that the newly launched project extends the possibilities of the legal profession by making it socially oriented and responsible. “We must of course understand that not all the lawyers will be in a position to invest their time to provide free legal services to the people in need, out of simple financial reasons. However, we do believe that there are good potentials to foster the project in our country and UNDP will further coordinate the process,-” noted Aziz Usupov.

Head of the Ministry of Justice department on the Notary System and the legal profession Maripa Seidalieva has expressed her gratitude to the UNDP for taking a lead step in popularizing and promoting pro bono publico practice in Kyrgyzstan. “The project will definitely be yet another significant step in ensuring justice for everyone, regardless of socio-economic position and I call on all the representatives of this socially important profession to be part of this opportunity,-” said Seidalieva.

During the one-day conference, participants have discussed wide range of questions on further developing and implementing sustainable pro bono practice in Kyrgyzstan and have learned from the experience of Russia, Ukraine, USA and Europe, where lawyers of private law firms try to dedicate around 50 hours annually for the provision of free legal aid to the ones in need. In words of the Executive Director of pro bono center in Ukraine Mykolo Syoma, “pro bono practice is getting popular in Ukraine and successful lawyers who do not provide pro bono are no longer “trendy.”

As for the motivating factors for lawyers in practicing pro bono, Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, UNDP Chief Technical Adviser on Rule of Law has noted that they range from professional to moral. “The gratitude that is expressed by pro bono client is almost unexplainable. Instead of a regular handshake at the end of a case, you see tears of joy and receive warm hugs- proving that you have indeed made a difference in someone’s lives,-” noted Lucio V. Sarandrea.

The conference was further highlighted by the presentation of Sergey Kurakov, Senior Legal Officer from the Moscow branch of the Global Network for Public Interest Law (PILnet) that has turned into the leading institution in Russia for coordinating pro bono practice.

“UNDP will further work on piloting new pro bono mechanism in Kyrgyzstan in cooperation with private law firms and lawyers, as well as Bar Association and Association Lawyers-,” said Ainura Bekkoenova, Chief of the UNDP “Democratic Governance” Dimension.

Contact Information:

Ainura Bekkoenova, Chief of the UNDP “Democratic Governance” Dimension, email: ainura.bekkoenova@undp.org, Tel: 996-312-694371, ext.144 +996-770-956095 (mob.)

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