The Second Kyiv International Legal Aid Conference (KILAC) was held online on March 4-5. Discussions at this year’s event focused on adjusting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely, what new approaches have been introduced in the field of free legal aid (FLA), what problems have emerged due to quarantine restrictions, and what new ways have been identified to promote legal aid through digital tools.
The conference was organized by the Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision with the support of the Digital Solutions for Improving Access to Justice in Ukraine initiative. This initiative is a component of the UNDP in Ukraine Human Rights for Ukraine Project and is funded by the Global Program on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development.
The conference participants had the opportunity to listen to leading national and international experts in the field of legal aid and talk about their experiences when working on the main and parallel panels. The joint deliverables of the conference will contribute to the strategic planning and advocating successful FLA practices in Ukraine and abroad.
The USAID New Justice Team – legal advisers Olga Nikolaieva and Serhiy Suchenko – presented at the conference the Online Dispute Resolution Platform Solution Finder. This platform is the result of the initiated in 2017 joint efforts by the USAID New Justice Program and its Ukrainian partners to implement advanced online dispute resolution (ODR) technology in Ukraine. The platform was developed by the Program’s experts with the support of the High Council of Justice in cooperation with judges, lawyers, mediators, and other specialists. The Solution Finder is designed, on the one hand, to help citizens find a quick and easy way to resolve disputes related to minor traffic violations, uncontested divorce, and to collect child support alimonies, and on the other hand to reduce in this way the courts’ workload and limit opportunities for corruption.
The idea to create such a platform appeared after the conference Courts and Online Dispute Resolution: Improving Access to Justice in Ukraine (link to the first and second day of the conference) which upon the initiative of the USAID New Justice Program was held in Kyiv in 2017. An online civil tribunal in Canada was chosen as a model for developing the Solution Finder platform. Olga Nikolaieva in her part of the presentation spoke about this, and other preconditions for creating the Solution Finder platform.
During one of the sessions of that conference, its participants developed recommendations for the implementation of ODR in Ukraine. But the main message was that we should start using the available tools and resources, ” said Ms. Nikolaieva.
Serhiy Suchenko, in his turn, spoke about the approach to the creation of the Solution Finder platform, the interim results of this project, and further development prospects.
It is planned to create a personal cabinet\account that will allow users to see their cases online. The Program also intends to add technical capability for resolving two new types of disputes, to cooperate with the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine to optimize the process of appealing public procurement procedures and to add the possibility for facilitation and mediation of disputes, ” said Mr. Suchenko.
The Solution Finder platform is a convenient way to get meaningful help in resolving three types of disputes without getting off your computer, smartphone, or tablet. The use of the platform is completely free.
At the end of the KILAC-2021 International Conference, Ms. Oksana Vasyliaka, First Deputy Director of the Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision, thanked the USAID New Justice Program for their continued support of the FLA system and the development of mediation in Ukraine.