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Digital innovation in Ukraine as DRC launches new Legal Aid tool

On 11 May 2023, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) presented its new online Legal Aid platform - a digital innovation that aims to improve access to free legal consultations for people affected by the war in Ukraine whether they are still in the country or displaced across borders.

©DRC Ukraine, Kyiv, 2023, Volodymyr Cheppel.

Posted on 17 May 2023

Thanks to funding from the European Union and the USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, DRC has developed a platform that will link organisations providing legal aid and people in need. Dozens of lawyers' profiles are available on the website, ready to provide online and offline consultations.

“With thousands of people in urgent need of legal aid, to the question is how we can adequately address this scale with available resources. The answer is: through collective action amongst legal aid service providers, alongside an unwavering commitment to finding innovative solutions to meet the overwhelming humanitarian demand for legal support. The digital platform is one such solution,” said Julian Zakrzewski, DRC Ukraine Country Director.

Lawyers from different organisations will be able to post their profiles and receive consultation requests via the platform. In practice, those in need of legal assistance can register, choose a lawyer, pick a convenient time for a meeting, and wait for the appointment confirmation. Lawyers are selected based on their expertise and experience. Each profile also has a rating with reviews.

“Legal aid is probably not what people first think of when they hear humanitarian aid, but it is a fundamental part of our work. Millions are affected by Russia’s war on Ukraine and faced with incredibly difficult situations – losing family members, their homes, their livelihoods. Through partners like DRC, the EU helps the most vulnerable access legal aid, because is an essential tool to ensure the population affected by the war can enjoy their rights to humanitarian assistance and social protection,” said Claudia Amaral, head of EU humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

"We do not want to substitute face-to-face consultations. The platform is an additional tool. It contains a huge Q&A section where people can find answers to their questions. Moreover, we give users control over the process of getting aid – people can choose a convenient time for consultation and a specialist they like. Such help is not tied to a location and can be accessed even in hard-to-reach areas. In addition, feedback and ratings on the platform allow us to supervise the quality of legal support," underlined Isaac Robinson, DRC Legal Aid Programme Manager.

The platform offers war-affected people in Ukraine and other countries an opportunity to:

DRC’s legal support hotlines remain active. People who prefer to seek legal assistance by phone can call 0800 33 19 13 (free of charge in Ukraine), +38044 333 42 95 – for calls from abroad (free of charge, a callback is on).

Isaac Robinson. Presentation of the Digital Legal Aid Platform in Kyiv, Ukraine. ©DRC Ukraine, Kyiv, 2023, Volodymyr Cheppel.

Isaac Robinson. Presentation of the Digital Legal Aid Platform in Kyiv, Ukraine. ©DRC Ukraine, Kyiv, 2023, Volodymyr Cheppel.

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