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Trials - Legal aid; Legal aid and designated lawyer program for foreigners

Legal aid is a program under which the court, upon application or sua sponte, defers or waives the payment of certain costs required for trial for those who are unable to afford it, thereby help them have a trial without paying for it.

Who are eligible?

Legal aid is available not only for cases on the merits such as civil litigation, administrative litigation, family matter litigation, etc., but also for demands, preliminary attachments and preliminary injunctions.

Application procedure

Legal aid may be applied for by the party intending to file litigation or a party already in litigation. Foreigners as well as companies may apply for it. If applying prior to filing a lawsuit, the application must be submitted in the court where the case will be filed; if applying after filing a lawsuit, the application must be filed in the court where the lawsuit records are kept.

Prerequisite elements

For legal aid, two elements must be met: (1) the inability of the applicant to pay; and (2) the possibility of prevailing in the lawsuit. The inability to pay means, for an individual, when someone is so poor that he/she is unable to pay for the litigation without causing economic detriment to himself or to his/her family. Such an individual must prepare and submit “Statement Regarding Assets for Legal Aid” as a substantiating document. The possibility of prevailing is found to exist when it is not certain that the applicant will lose in the lawsuit, and it is determined by the court based on the materials produced during trial.

The Court-appointed Attorney Service for Foreigners in Litigation Ai

Courts with many cases involving foreigners, including but not limited to Seoul Central District Court, Seoul Administrative Court, Seoul Family Court, Suwon District Court Ansan Branch, Incheon District Court Bucheon Branch, Daegu District Court Western Branch, etc., have implemented the Court-appointed Attorney Service for Foreigners in Legal Aid. The major component to this program is that, when economically challenged foreigners and immigrants involved in lawsuits make an inquiry regarding litigation procedure, the court may provide lawyer’s support on litigation procedure, including application procedure for legal aid and drafting a complaint, by referring them to a pre-selected “Lawyers for Foreigners’ Legal Aid.” If needed, interpretation service may be provided as well.

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The system of designating attorneys to provide litigation aid to aliens Download