On 27 March 2019, representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Bar Associations, and Civil Societies Organisations from Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt gathered in Beirut on the occasion of the EuroMed Justice regional workshop “Together for quality legal aid (LA) services for vulnerable populations”.

Capitalizing on the activities on Legal Aid developed under EuroMed Justice, the overall objective of this activity is to ensure the provision of quality legal aid services to vulnerable populations in the MENA region. The approach adopted aims to develop a framework of principles in line with international and European standards and the rationale is to promote and protect the right to access to justice of the most marginalized, excluded or discriminated individuals in society.

To do so, ‘Regional Guiding Principles for Quality Legal Aid’ (Regional Guiding Principles) are being elaborated by EuroMed Justice experts. The final Regional Guiding Principles will set out key values and common understanding of what quality Legal Aid for vulnerable populations encompasses as well as outline other minimum mesures needed to ensure high quality service, assistance, and representation for the different groups.

Against this background, the objective of the Regional Workshop was to discuss and finalize the draft Regional Guiding Principles. Prior to the workshop, the EuroMed Justice experts prepared draft Regional Guiding Principles. During the workshop, the representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Bar associations, and the Civil Societies Organisations from Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon discussed the draft Regional Guiding Principles. The EuroMed Justice experts will then finalize the Regional Guiding Principles on the basis of the recommendations and conclusions resulting from the Regional Workshop.

Once finalised, the Regional Guiding Principles will be translated and tailored to the national context of the targeted countries – Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt –, thus resulting in the development of ‘National Codes of Conducts for the provision of Quality Legal Aid services’.