Complex legal problems and numerous legal norms that need to be properly interpreted and applied in order to solve problems successfully, encourage citizens to seek legal aid. However, poor financial situation and consequent inability to afford legal advice represent an obstacle to their resolution. Students of the Law Clinic of the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb (hereinafter: Law clinic) strive to enable disadvantaged citizens to exercise and protect their rights. They have been successfully providing free legal aid in the form of general legal information and legal advice for ten years.
By providing legal aid, students participate in the integral system of free legal aid, thus gaining unique and direct experience on the functioning of legal institutes in their social context, developing and exploring knowledge on the application of legal regulations in legal practice and acquiring certain practical skills necessary for identifying problems, selecting and analysing cases, taking instructions from the citizens who seek help and from their academic mentors and choosing the best strategy for representing the interests of citizens.
Since the establishment of the Law Clinic until today, more than eight hundred students have participated in its work and provided around thirteen thousand pieces of free legal advice to citizens. During the academic year 2017/2018 alone, students provided about 2,000 pieces of legal advice, of which most assistance was provided in the branches of civil, administrative and criminal law.
Citizens can personally, with prior notice, request legal aid in a resident clinic at Palmotićeva 30, 10 000 Zagreb. In addition, free legal aid can also be requested by calling the phone numbers 01/4811 311, 01/4811 320, 01/4811 324, 01/4811 356, every working day from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and via the electronic form on the Law Clinic website.
Students do not provide free legal aid only in a resident clinic, but also in so-called external clinics through which legal aid has been made available to citizens who are not able to come to a resident clinic and ask for help there. External clinics are organised in co-operation with local self-government units and civil society associations that inform citizens about the office days of the Law Clinic in their city and give the students the space necessary to provide free legal aid. During the academic year, the students go to external clinics seven times to receive requests for legal information and advice from citizens, and to gather information and documentation needed to resolve their legal problems. The number of cases that students receive in external clinics annually is constantly increasing, which indicates the fact that citizens across Croatia recognised the Law Clinic and its students as loyal partners in solving their legal problems.
Newsletter of the Law Clinic “Pro Bono”
Pro bono is a newsletter of the Law Clinic of the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, an organizational unit that provides free legal assistance to citizens. It is entirely prepared by several students – volunteers of the Law Clinic and their associates (“Editorial Board”). It offers interesting facts and current topics from the work of the Law Clinic, interviews and articles about relevant legal topics based on the actual cases that the Law Clinic was contacted about, and every issue has a separate theme. The first issue was published in September 2012, and as a rule it is published biannually (twice a year).