THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE
THE GOVERNMENT COMMISSION FOR ORGANIZATION AND PERSONNEL
THE MINISTRY OF LABOR, WAR INVALIDS AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
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SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Independence - Freedom – Happiness

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No: 52/TTLT/TP-TC-TCCP-LDTBXH
Hanoi, January 14, 1998
 
JOINT CIRCULAR
GUIDING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF DECISION No.734-TTg OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1997 OF THE PRIME MINISTER ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR THE POOR AND SOCIAL POLICY BENEFICIARIES
In furtherance of Decision No.734-TTg of September 6, 1997 of the Prime Minister on the establishment of organizations providing legal assistance organizations for the poor and the social policy beneficiaries, the Ministry of Justice, the Government Commission on Organization and Personnel, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs jointly provide detailed guidance on a number of following matters:
I. SUBJECTS ENTITLED TO LEGAL ASSISTANCE
1. The following subjects are entitled to free-of-charge legal assistance:
a/ The poor, including members of hungry or poor family households determined according to the monthly average per-capita incomes of such households, which are convertible into rice and money under the norms annually announced by the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs;
- People with meritorious services to the revolution: People who had taken part in revolutionary activities before August 1945; "Ba Me Viet Nam Anh Hung" (Vietnamese heroine mothers) title conferees, heroes (heroines) of the People's armed forces, labor heroes (heroines); war invalids, people entitled to policies reserved for war invalids, sick soldiers who lost 61% or more of their working capacity; spouse and parents of martyrs, people who had brought up martyrs, under-18 children of
- People of ethnic minorities residing in highland, deep-lying, remote and island areas;
- People who are exempt from court fees as provided for in Clause 1, Article 13; Points a and b, Article 26; Points a and c, Clause 1, Article 31 of Decree No.70-CP of June 12, 1997 of the Government on court fees and charges.
2. When requesting legal assistance, subjects entitled to free-of-charge legal assistance shall have to produce written certifications thereof by authorities of communes, wards or townships where they reside, or agencies, State enterprises, mass organizations, socio-political organizations where they work (for the poor); or produce written certifications or cards issued by the competent State agencies (for the social policy beneficiaries). In special cases where subjects entitled to legal assistance meet with difficulties in traveling, they can authorize their next of kin to make request for legal assistance.
II. ON THE FUNCTIONS, TASKS AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE ORGANIZATIONS
A. THE LEGAL ASSISTANCE DEPARTMENT UNDER THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE:
Pursuant to Point 3, Article 2 of Decision No.734-TTg of September 6, 1997 of the Prime Minister, the Legal Assistance Department shall directly provide free-of-charge legal assistance for the poor and social policy beneficiaries in the following cases of necessity:
1. Cases forwarded by legal assistance organizations under the provincial/municipal Services of Justice, which are problematic or insolvable;
2. Cases falling within the scope of legal assistance forwarded by concerned agencies, organizations or individuals.
The Department shall be entitled to use collaborators under the Regulation on Collaborators issued by the Minister of Justice.
B. LEGAL ASSISTANCE ORGANIZATIONS UNDER THE PROVINCIAL/MUNICIPAL SERVICES OF JUSTICE
The legal assistance organizations attached to the provincial/municipal Services of Justice shall be uniformly named: "State legal assistance centers" accompanied with the names of the concerned provinces or cities directly under the Central Government (hereafter referred to as the center).
1. The functions and tasks of the centers:
The centers have the function of providing free-of-charge legal assistance for the poor and social policy beneficiaries and taking part in the dissemination and education of law among these subjects.
The centers' specific tasks of legal assistance include providing free-of-charge legal consultancy, representation and defense for the poor and the policy beneficiaries in cases related to criminal law, criminal procedures; civil, marriage and family laws and procedures; administrative law and complaints and denunciations; laws on labor, employment; land, residential houses and other legal fields related to the citizens' legitimate rights, interests and obligations outside the business and commercial domain.
Centers can invite lawyers to act as representatives and defense counsels to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the above said subjects upon their requests or requests of concerned agencies and organizations; and provide defense counsel for the poor and policy beneficiaries who commit less serious offenses or commit serious offenses unintentionally.
2. Organizational structure and personnel:
Centers are non-business organizations having the legal person status, equivalent to the district Sections of Justice under the provincial/municipal Services of Justice, and having their own seals and accounts.
Centers are subject to the management by the provincial/municipal Services of Justice in accordance with the regulations applicable to the units attached to the provincial/municipal Service and at the same time to the professional guidance of the Legal Assistance Department.
A center comprises its Director, Deputy-Director and legal assistance experts in the following main legal domains:
- Criminal and criminal procedures law;
- Civil, marriage and family laws and procedures;
- Administrative law and complaints and denunciations;
- Labor and employment;
- Land and residential houses.
The Director and the Deputy-Director may at the same time be legal assistance experts in certain legal domains; while the experts may undertake the administrative and office work on the part-time basis, excluding the accountancy.
According to the functions and tasks of the centers and the local demand for legal assistance, the presidents of the People's Committees of the provinces or cities directly under the Central Government shall supply non-business personnel for centers, so as to ensure their efficient operation.
Centers shall be entitled to use collaborators in accordance with the Regulation on Collaborators issued by the Minister of Justice.
III. THE SCOPE AND MODE OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE
1. The scope of legal assistance:
- Explaining laws;
- Guiding, writing, making comments on applications, documents related to the rights and obligations of citizens;
- Guiding the necessary procedures and providing addresses of the agencies competent to handle cases; providing legal information;
- Representing the subjects or taking part in negotiations, signing or reconciliation with concerned individuals, agencies or organizations on civil, marriage and family or labor matters and other legal matters outside the business and commercial domains;
- Directly requesting or proposing the superior management agencies to request the competent agencies to settle matters related to cases where legal assistance is provided;
- Directly protecting or inviting lawyers to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the subjects entitled to legal assistance before courts as prescribed by law.
2. The mode of legal assistance:
- Direct consultancy in speech, in writing, by mail or telephone;
- Organizing mobile consultancy in areas far from the legal assistance centers;
- Inviting collaborators to act as consultants, defense counsels or representatives;
- Other legal assistance modes.
IV. FUNDS FOR OPERATIONS OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE ORGANIZATIONS
The legal assistance organizations shall undertake non-business operation without any revenues and shall be allocated non-business funds by the State. The funds for the operations of the legal assistance organizations shall include fund allocated from the State budget and financial supports from individuals and organizations inside and outside the country.
1. The operating fund of the Legal Assistance Department:
The Legal Assistance Department is
2. The operating funds of the legal assistance centers
The legal assistance centers are non-business organizations attached to the provincial/municipal Services of Justice. Annually, basing themselves on the State's regimes, the contents of their operation and their estimated expenditures, the centers shall draft their budgets then submit them to the provincial/municipal Services of Justice for incorporation into the provincial/municipal Services' draft budgets to be submitted to the provincial/municipal Services of Finance, then to the People's Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government for approval and allocation.
The People's Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall ensure the material conditions for the smooth operation of the centers.
V. IMPLEMENTATION PROVISIONS
This Circular takes effect 15 days after its signing.
Any problems arising in the course of implementation shall be reported to the four ministries for consideration and settlement.
 
THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
VICE MINISTER




Nguyen Ngoc Hien
THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE
VICE MINISTER




Tao Huu Phung
THE GOVERNMENT COMMISSION FOR ORGANIZATION AND PERSONNEL
DEPUTY HEAD




To Tu Ha
THE MINISTRY OF LABOR, WAR INVALIDS AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
VICE MINISTER




Nguyen Thi Hang