Legal Aid Act revised to cover foreign laborers and spouses
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.