1 What costs are involved in legal proceedings and who normally has to bear them?
In cross-border disputes in civil and commercial matters, state-guaranteed legal aid covers:
1) interpreting costs;
2) the costs of translating the application for legal aid and the supporting documents;
3) the costs of translating the essential procedural documents requested by the court or competent authority and submitted by the applicant;
4) the travel costs to be borne by the applicant where persons connected with the applicant’s case are required to be present in court by Lithuanian law or by a court ruling and the court decides that the persons concerned cannot be heard to the satisfaction of the court by any other means.
In cross-border disputes where the applicant is domiciled or predominantly resident in the Republic of Lithuania, state-guaranteed legal aid covers costs relating to:
1) legal aid granted in Lithuania before an application for legal aid was received in another European Union Member State in which the case is being heard or the judgment is to be enforced;
2) translating the application for legal aid and the supporting documents.
If you are entitled to 100% state-funded secondary legal aid, you are exempt from paying these costs. If you are entitled to only partial legal aid, you should pay the remainder of the costs yourself.
2 What exactly is legal aid?
Primary legal aid (pirminė teisinė pagalba) and secondary legal aid (antrinė teisinė pagalba) are granted in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on state-guaranteed legal aid (Lietuvos Respublikos valstybės garantuojamos teisinės pagalbos įstatymas).
You should apply for primary legal aid if you require legal information, legal advice, preparation of documents for state or municipal authorities, assistance with out-of-court dispute resolution, or preparation of a settlement agreement.
You can obtain primary legal aid in every Lithuanian urban municipality.
You should apply for secondary legal aid if you require preparation of procedural documents, defence or representation by a lawyer in legal proceedings, including enforcement proceedings, representation during the preliminary extrajudicial stage of a dispute, where such a procedure is required by law or court decision, exemption from payment of lawyers’ fees, procedural costs and other costs, or mediation services.
You can obtain secondary legal aid by applying to the State-guaranteed Legal Aid Service (Valstybės garantuojamos teisinės pagalbos tarnyba).
3 Do I have a right to legal aid?
Primary legal aid is granted to Lithuanian citizens, citizens of a European Union Member State, persons lawfully resident in Lithuania or in another European Union Member State, and persons entitled to such aid under international agreements to which Lithuania is a party. All those listed above are entitled to a free one-hour consultation on the matter concerning them, regardless of their financial situation.
Providers of primary legal aid will give advice on settling a dispute out of court, provide information on the legal system, laws and other legal acts, help draw up a settlement agreement and help fill in an application for secondary legal aid. Primary legal aid may be refused if: the applicant’s claims are clearly not justified; the applicant has already been given extensive advice on the same matter; it is clear that the person is able to obtain a lawyer’s advice without state-guaranteed legal aid; or the application does not relate to the person’s own rights and legitimate interests, except in cases of representation as laid down by law.
Secondary legal aid is granted to the same group of people, but is subject to requirements with regard personal (or family) assets and personal income level.
Secondary legal aid may be granted to persons whose personal (or family) assets and personal annual income over the last 12 months do not exceed the levels laid down by the Lithuanian Government for receiving legal aid. Assets and income are categorised as level 1 or level 2: for level 1, the state pays 100% of secondary legal aid expenses; for level 2, the state pays 50% of secondary legal aid expenses (the remaining 50% being borne by the person concerned). It should be noted that persons seeking secondary legal aid must provide details of their movable (e.g. cars) and immovable property and that of their spouse.
The following may receive free secondary legal aid irrespective of personal (or family) assets or personal annual income: persons who have submitted a certificate (or attestation) issued by the competent authority of their state of residence, stating that they are entitled to receive free legal aid in their own state in accordance with the laws of that state, persons who have a severe level of disability or are recognised as unfit for work, and other cases provided for in the Law on state-guaranteed legal aid.
4 Is legal aid granted for all types of proceedings?
No. Article 28(1) of the Law on State-guaranteed legal aid states that, in cross-border disputes, such aid is granted in civil and commercial matters.
5 Are there special procedures in cases of need?
6 Where can I obtain a legal aid application form?
On the e-Justice portal.
7 Which documents need to be submitted with the legal aid application form?
- The legal aid application form (which must be signed by the person applying for legal aid or their authorised representative, who must provide evidence of authorisation).
- Proof of identity: passport, identity card, permit of permanent or temporary residence in Lithuania / a European Union Member State.
- Documents supporting the claim (e.g. the court rulings already issued in your case, the contract, if your claims relate to the performance of a contract, etc.).
- A certificate (or attestation) issued by the competent authority of your state of residence, stating that you are entitled to receive free legal aid in your own state in accordance with the laws of that state.
If you have not submitted the above document, you must submit a declaration of your annual personal income and your personal (or family) assets in order to receive secondary legal aid. You must declare all income and benefits received over the last 12 months and provide supporting documents (e.g. a statement from your employer covering the last 12 months, a statement from the institution paying your benefit, etc.). You must also submit documents regarding your and your spouse’s movable and immovable property or another document proving that you are entitled to receive secondary legal aid irrespective of your personal (or family) assets and your personal income.
8 Where do I submit my application for legal aid?
To the State-guaranteed Legal Aid Service:
Odminių g. 3, 01122 Vilnius
Tel. 8 700 00 211
Fax 8 700 35 004
9 How do I find out whether I am entitled to legal aid?
Apply to the State-guaranteed Legal Aid Service.
10 What should I do, if I am entitled to legal aid?
Submit an application, together with the necessary documents, to the State-guaranteed Legal Aid Service.
11 Who chooses my lawyer, if I am entitled to legal aid?
The State-guaranteed Legal Aid Service.
12 Does legal aid cover all the costs of the proceedings?
If you are granted legal aid with the state funding 100% of legal aid expenses, you are exempted from paying lawyers’ fees and litigation costs. If you are granted legal aid with the state funding 50% of legal aid expenses, you will have to bear the remaining 50% of the lawyers’ fees and litigation costs. It should be noted that there is no exemption from paying the litigation costs incurred by the other party to the dispute, so if a person initiates court proceedings and the claim is dismissed by the court, the court may order that person to bear the litigation costs incurred by the other party to the dispute. In such cases, the state does not exempt you from paying the litigation costs incurred by the other party.
13 Who bears the other costs, if I am entitled only to limited legal aid?
The costs are borne by the person receiving the partial legal aid.
14 Does legal aid also cover appeals?
Legal aid ends with the final decision of the court before which proceedings have been brought. However, it is possible to apply for legal aid again for appeal proceedings. It should be noted that, for each matter, a new application must be submitted, along with all the documents needed to obtain legal aid, and the State-guaranteed Legal Aid Service will assess whether you are eligible for legal aid in appeal.
15 Can legal aid be withdrawn before the proceedings are concluded (or even revoked after the proceedings have terminated)?
Yes, if it transpires that the person to whom legal aid was granted withheld information or provided false information in order to obtain state legal aid. Legal aid may also be withdrawn at the person’s own request, or if it transpires that the person is misusing the legal aid, not cooperating with the lawyer, etc.
16 Can I contest a refusal to give legal aid?
Yes. A decision taken by the State-guaranteed Legal Aid Service may be appealed before the Lithuanian Administrative Disputes Commission (Lietuvos administracinių ginčų komisija) (Vilniaus g. 27, Vilnius) or Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (Vilniaus apygardos administracinis teismas) (Žygimantų g. 2, Vilnius) within one month of receipt of the decision.
The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective EJN contact point. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. Neither the EJN nor the European Commission accept responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.