Legal Aid

For legal aid by phone call +36 1 279-22-35 on Tuesdays between 2.30PM and 5PM, and on Thursdays between 10AM and 12PM (CET).

HCLU provides free legal aid and occasional legal representation only in the following topics:

· Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, civil disobedience, freedom of conscience and religion

· right to self-determination in healthcare (specifically abortion, home birth, the right to refuse treatment, and the right to leave the health care institution)

· guardianship process (including voting rights)

· violation of the rights of institutionalized persons with disabilities or mental disorders

· violation of the right to education of school-age children living with severe and multiple disabilities

· violation of the right to medical treatment and the right to equal treatment of persons living with HIV

· negative discrimination by governmental, municipal, and other public institutions or organizations offering public services if the discrimination was based on perceived membership in one of the following vulnerable groups: Roma minority, LMBT, HIV-infected, drug-user, or living with disability

· representation of harmed parties in cases of racist, homophobic, anti semitic, or other similar hate crimes

· right to vote, right to be elected

· public data request (also for journalists)

· whistleblower protection

· protection of personal data (especially religious data managed by schools, health care documentation, and protection of political and ideological data)

· abuse of drugs in small quantities

· freedom of education

What do we do to help?

In less complex cases, we provide oral or written information about regulations and about our professional experiences. At times, depending on the content of the case, we recommend other civil rights protection organizations to our clients. Every so often, HCLU lawyers will undertake legal representation: protection in criminal cases, composing petitions to submit to authorities, and representation in court proceedings. We do not give legal advice to those with 3rd party legal counsel.

Due to resource constraints, we only offer help with the topics listed above. For questions outside HCLU’s scope of services, you can approach the Legal Aid Service (+36-1-7000-952) and Victim Support Service (+36-1-7000-950) Departments at the Government Offices. “Jogpont” (“Legal Point”) Legal Aid Service Network will answer labor rights and social security questions. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee will provide help with legal questions about penal law, refugee rights, and law enforcement.

Our contact details:

Online Legal Aid Service: jogsegely@tasz.hu

Via email at jogsegely at tasz dot hu

Legal Aid by phone can be solicited during the hours listed above. We can offer an in-person meeting with our lawyers only if the case is within our scope of services and giving advice via phone or email is for some reason impossible.

We request that you always provide a phone number or an email address with your application for services as we do not communicate via postal mail. We also request that you do not send originals of documents via mail as we cannot mail originals back.

If you wish to send us an electronic mail in encrypted form, please use HCLU’s public key for encryption. We generated this key for the tasz@tasz.hu email address, but it can be used for sending messages to any other “tasz.hu” email, including jogsegely@tasz.hu .

HCLU’s public encryption key is as follows:

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

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The encryption key can also be downloaded from here.

Legal representation

HCLU will undertake legal representation primarily in cases of rights enforcement against the government as defined in Section I. 4. of the Statutes (right of assembly, freedom of religion and belief, freedom of speech, participatory rights [especially: the right to vote, and the right to be elected], right to self-determination [especially in health care], right to equal treatment, right to transparency of government [freedom of information], and right to protection of privacy). In some exceptional occasions, HCLU does work on cases between an individual and a non-governmental organization if those stem from abuse of power and thus affect fundamental rights.

Capacity constraints and the availability of other organizations providing services in the given legal field can also result in the refusal of undertaking certain cases.

Consultation with the Legal Aid Service and with HCLU in general, or the review of served clients' documents do not qualify as offers for legal representation, further assistance, or any other service by HCLU, its employees or contractor lawyers.

Lawsuits for compensatory damages

In principle, HCLU does not undertake lawsuits for compensatory damages in Hungarian courts. Exceptions are: 1. if it is the only means of legal remedy (of enforcing a demand), 2. if the case is particularly important for fulfilling the HCLU strategy and the client insists on receiving damage compensation, 3. if, due to the importance and prevalence of the rights violation, enforcing the compensation is an effective means of redirecting the violator into law-abiding behavior.

Decisions on lawsuits for compensatory damages are made by the Executive Committee.

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