Chapter 1 General Provisions
To protect people’s rights and interests, this Act is enacted for providing necessary legal aid to people who are indigent or are unable to receive proper legal protections for other reasons.
The government has responsibilities to promote legal aid in legal matters and to provide necessary funding.
All levels of Courts, the Prosecutor’s Offices, the bar associations and lawyers have duties to assist the implementation of legal aid in legal matters.
To achieve the purpose of this Act, the Legal aid Foundation (the Foundation) shall be established by the competent authority. The Articles of Subscription and Organization of the Foundation shall be established by the competent authority.
The competent authority under this Act is the Judicial Yuan.
The term “legal aid” as used in this Act refers to the following matters:
1. acting as a representative, a defender or an assistant for litigations, non-contentious cases, arbitrations and other matters;
2. acting as a representative for mediations and settlements;
3. drafting legal documents;
4. providing legal consultations;
5. providing necessary services and fees incurred from other legal matters;
6. other resolutions reached by the Foundation.
The term indigent person as used in this Act refers to a person with any one of the following conditions:
1. who is qualified as a low-income residence, or middle-to-low-income residence under the Social Relief Act;
2. whose family is qualified as a Family in Hardship as described in Article 4 Paragraph 1 of the Act of Assistance for Family in Hardship;
3. whose disposable assets and monthly disposable income are below a specific standard.
The property that belongs to the applicant's spouse or relatives, with whom the applicant does not share property or residence, shall not be counted towards the disposable assets as prescribed in subparagraph 3 of the preceding paragraph. The assets and income as prescribed in subparagraph 3 of the preceding paragraph do not apply to applicant's parents, children, spouse or property-and-resident sharing relatives, with whom the applicant does not have a dependency relationship; neither do the said provisions apply to the applicant's long-term separated spouse.
The disposable assets and income standards as prescribed in paragraph 1 subparagraph 3, and the verification standards of the preceding paragraph shall be prescribed by the Foundation.
The term "people who are unable to receive proper legal protections for other reasons" as described in this Act refers to people with any one of the following conditions:
1. a defendant who did not retain an attorney during the first questioning (interrogation) of an investigation, or during a trial, in a case that carries the base sentence of at least three years of prison term, or in a trial of first instance adjudicated by the high court;
2. a defendant or a suspect, who possesses indigenous peoples status and did not retain an attorney during an investigation or trial;
3. a defendant, who is unable to make full statements due to damage or impairment of the structures of the nervous system, or of the psychological or mental functions, and did not retain an attorney during an investigation or trial, or did not retain a legal representative during a trial in which retaining a legal representative was deemed necessary by the presiding judge;
4. a defendant, who is under the condition of any one of the preceding three subparagraphs in a juvenile delinquency investigation or trial, and did not retain an assistant;
5. a defendant in other trials, or juvenile delinquency cases, where an attorney, a legal representative, or a legal assistant is not retained, but is deemed necessary by the presiding judge;
6. a case of important public interest, high social profile, high complexity or similar instances as determined by the Foundation.
The funding of the Foundation is ten billion NT dollars. Except for encouraging the subscription from the public, the competent authority shall compile the annual budget to subscribe the funding.
The initiative funding of the Foundation is five hundred million NT dollars. The competent authority shall compile the annual budget for the first year to subsidize the funding.
The Articles of the Subscription and Organization of the Foundation shall contain the following items:
1. the purposes;
2. the name of the Foundation;
3. the address of the Foundation and the Chapters;
4. the variety, amount and methods of safe-keeping and utilizing the funding;
5. the categories of business;
6. the organization;
7. the personnel management ;
8. the supervision and management in the business and finance;
9. the application for legal aid, the review of legal aid application and the petition for appeal;
10. the Board of Directors and the meetings of Supervisors;
11. the cadre and staff members;
12. the accounting;
13. the amendment to the Articles;
14. the procedures in formulating, amending and abolishing the rules established under this Act,
15. the procedures in disposing the assets;
16. the cause of dissolution, the procedure of liquidation and the ownership of the residual assets;
17. other important items specified in accordance with this Act.
The competent authority shall compile the annual budget to subsidize the funding depending on the needs of the Foundation.
The relevant agencies of the Central Government shall also compile the supplemental budget to subsidize the funding.
The sources of other Foundation’s funding are as follows:
1. the supplemental funding from the municipal and county(city) governments;
2. the deferred prosecution fines or negotiated judgment charges that are paid to the public treasury;
3. donations from national and regional bar associations;
4. the bank interests incurred from the funding;
5. the remuneration and necessary fees that the legal aid recipients share or bear in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
6. the subscription from other groups or individuals.
7. other income.
The balance of funds at the end of the fiscal year from the income prescribed in the provisions of subparagraphs 3, 6, and 7 of the preceding paragraph should be transferred into the funds prescribed in the provisions of article 6 paragraph 1.
The budget as prescribed in the provisions of paragraph 3 subparagraph 2 shall be compiled by the competent authority using 15% of the average total of the funds from the past three years, along with the funds as prescribed in the provisions of paragraph 1.
The Foundation is located at the site of the competent authority, unless it is otherwise approved by the Competent Authority.
The Foundation may set up the Chapter of the Foundation (the Chapter) in accordance with the jurisdiction of each district court.
The matters handled by the Foundation are as follows:
1. formulating, amending, and abolishing the regulations authorized by the Legal aid Act;
2. planning and executing the projects of legal aid;
3. legal aid fund-raising, and managing and utilizing the funding collected;
4. promoting education with topics in legal aid, and human rights;
5. administering legal aid matters commissioned by agencies (organizations), or groups;
6. promoting the formulations of legal statutes relating to legal aid and human rights;
7. being in charge of the petitions for appeal submitted by the legal aid applicant or recipient who is unwilling to accept the decision made by the Chapter’s Review Committee;
8. assessing legal aid lawyers;
9. other matters of legal aid.
When handling the projects as described in subparagraph 5 of the preceding paragraph, the Foundation should comply with the commission agreement set forth by the Foundation and the government agencies (organizations), or groups.
The matters handled by the Chapter are as follows:
1. reviewing and executing the approval, denial, revocation and termination of the legal aid instances;
2. reviewing and executing the payment in advance, payment, increase, reduction, cancellation, return, share or burden of the lawyer’s remuneration or necessary fees.
3. providing mediation for disputes between legal aid recipient and the legal aid lawyers.
5. implementing matters ordered by the Foundation and other legal aid matters.
The regulations, that are formulated by the Foundation in accordance with the provisions of this Act, wherein the formulation, amendment, and abolishment of the regulations concerning organization structures, the use of funds and budget, and critical measures shall be approved by the competent authority, while the remainders shall be submitted to the competent authority for future reference.