Le­gal Aid Act re­vised to cover for­eign la­bor­ers and spouses

The China Post - - TAIWAN BUSINESS -

The Leg­isla­tive Yuan passed a re­vi­sion to the Le­gal Aid Act, ex­tend­ing le­gal as­sis­tance to for­eign la­bor­ers and eco­nom­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged for­eign spouses who pre­vi­ously did not qual­ify for help.

The re­vi­sion was drafted by the Ju­di­cial Yuan in an at­tempt to up­date the 2004 act and rid it of un­re­al­is­tic clauses.

No­table among the re­vised clauses is one that ex­tends the cov­er­age of the act to for­eign fish­ing la­bor­ers, for­eign maids, for­eign care-givers, as well as eco­nom­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged for­eign spouses who have yet to qual­ify for le­gal res­i­dency in Tai­wan.

The re­vi­sion also al­lows the Le­gal Aid Foun­da­tion to pro­vide as­sis­tance to ap­pli­cants, with­out ex­am­in­ing their fi­nan­cial abil­ity, in case they are in­dige­nous or men­tally or psy­cho­log­i­cally im­paired peo­ple.

Un­der the re­vised act, the gov­ern­ment should set aside for the Le­gal Aid Foun­da­tion 15 per­cent of its av­er­age rev­enues from money paid by de­fen­dants in de­ferred pros­e­cu­tion agree­ments or in plea bar­gain­ing agree­ments in the three pre­vi­ous years.

The re­vised act also stip­u­lates that lawyers, des­ig­nated by the Le­gal Aid Foun­da­tion to ren­der le­gal aid on its be­half, could not re­ject the task with­out a rea­son. The foun­da­tion may also con­tract lawyers to ren­der le­gal aid for it and these lawyers may ask for rea­son­able fees.

The Foun­da­tion was founded in line with the act to pro­vide le­gal aid to peo­ple.

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