Right to legal information and protection

Access to justice seeks to ensure that nobody is hindered in or prevented from exercising their rights because of their social or cultural background, financial means, or knowledge.

Victims are entitled to legal aid and advice about their role during the entire procedure.

State guaranteed legal aid is provided in two forms.

First, primary legal aid is provided by lawyers employed at municipal administrations throughout Lithuania. You can find a lawyer that you could contact in your municipality here). Usually it is best to make a phone call and to book a time for legal consultation. Please note that you are entitled to receive primary legal aid in the municipality that you reside only, and you should apply there even if you have suffered criminal harm elsewhere. When applying for a primary legal aid you do not have to prove that your income is low or that you have suffered a crime. It is the right that everyone person legally residing in Lithuania is entitled to.

However, the scope of services provided as a primary legal aid is rather limited. You will receive information and some consultation there, however the lawyers providing primary legal aid do not draft legal documents and cannot represent you neither in pre-trial investigation nor in court. The laws also establish that consultation provided as a primary legal aid cannot last more than 1 hour (except the consulting lawyer decides otherwise) and you would not be able to apply for another consultation on the same issue repeatedly.

Secondary legal aid, that encompasses drafting of legal documents and legal representation both during pre-trial investigation and trial, is provided by practicing lawyers contracted by the State-Guaranteed Legal Aid Service. When requesting a secondary legal aid you should fill the form of application (you can find it here) and submit it to the State-Guaranteed Legal Aid Service.

Please note that you can receive free secondary legal aid only after you have been acknowledged to be an injured party in the criminal case and only if you have suffered damages by crime. The laws make an exception only to victims of domestic violence, sexual crimes, human trafficking, hate crimes, organized crimes, terrorist crimes. In the latter case secondary legal aid is to be provided even if no damage has been suffered (however the requirement to be formally afforded the status of an injured party still applies).

Of course, you can find a practicing lawyer to represent your case yourself. You can find a list of practicing lawyers here. Practicing lawyers can entrust representation of your interests to their assistants also. Your interests in the case can also be represented even by any other person who has a university degree in law, however only if the pre-trial investigation officer, the prosecutor, or the judge in your case agrees.

Please note that the legal system of Lithuania is rather complex and some practicing lawyers who have good knowledge of civil or labor laws have no experience with criminal justice and thus would not be quite competent to represent your interests in the case to the full extent. Thus, when hiring a practicing lawyer yourself it would be worth to talk about his or her experience in cases like yours first.

I was a victim of crime: consequences and reactions The rights of victims of crime Criminal proceedings Who’s who in criminal proceedings


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