Public defence is considered as free legal aid rendered in cases provided for by law.
Public defence is carried out through the Office of Public Defender.
Free legal aid includes:
1. counselling – drawing up of statements of claim, applications, appeals and other procedural documents of legal nature, including provision of legal information;
2. representation or defence in criminal, civil, administrative and constitutional cases.
In the course of criminal procedure, the civil plaintiff or the legal representative thereof, the legal representative of the suspect and the accused, as well as the civil respondent have the right to legal aid provided by representatives invited by them.
At the time of interrogating the victim, the criminal prosecution body does not have the right to prohibit participation of the advocate invited by the victim as a representative.
The body conducting criminal proceedings may decide on providing the suspect or the accused with free legal aid based on their material situation.
The Office of Public Defender, apart from providing legal aid to the suspect or the accused in a criminal case, as well as to the above-mentioned persons — (1) in cases of entrepreneurial nature (including corporate disputes); (2) in cases involving property (monetary) claims exceeding one-thousand-fold of the minimum salary, except for cases where the person acts as a respondent or a third party acting on the part of the respondent; (3) where there is reliable factual data denying that the applying person is incapable to pay — provides the envisaged free legal aid to the following persons:
● Family members of a military servant fallen (deceased) while protecting the borders of the Republic of Armenia;
● Persons with disabilities of the 1st and the 2nd group;
● Family members kept on records in the evaluation system of socially disadvantaged condition of families, with a grade above “0”;
● Participants of the Great Patriotic War and of combat operations during the protection of the borders of the Republic of Armenia;
● Pensioners living alone;
● Children left without parental care, as well as persons falling under the category of children left without parental care;
● Those having received temporary asylum in the Republic of Armenia.
The right to free legal aid for the above-mentioned persons will be in effect from 1 January 2013.
The right to free legal aid will also be provided to convicts, unemployed persons and to those insolvent natural persons who will submit reliable data confirming their inability to pay — starting from 1 January 2014.