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Free legal service project on hold as ‘volunteer lawyers’ wait for budget

Free legal service project on hold as ‘volunteer lawyers’ wait for budget

PHUKET: The project that was supposed to see volunteer lawyers provide free legal services at Phuket City Police Station and Patong Police Station starting last Sunday (June 9) is now on hold while the project organisers at the Lawyers Council of Thailand (LCT) wait for budget approval from the government.

policecrimetourismpatong
By Terence Chulavachana

Friday 14 June 2019, 11:15AM


The scheme to provide free legal services at police stations in Phuket is now on hold while the project organisers at the Lawyers Council of Thailand (LCT) wait for budget approval from the government. Photo: Supplied

The scheme to provide free legal services at police stations in Phuket is now on hold while the project organisers at the Lawyers Council of Thailand (LCT) wait for budget approval from the government. Photo: Supplied

The stunning revelation came to light only after The Phuket News followed up on the launch of the free service.

The service was supposed to see volunteer lawyers with English-speaking capabilities provide free legal assistance to Thais and foreigners, including tourists, in trouble with the law at the two main police stations as part of a nationwide project that aimed to have some 10,000 lawyers take part in provideing free legal advice to an estimated 250,000 people in need over six months.

At last report, 32 lawyers had already signed up to provide the free legal aid in Phuket. (See story here.)

However, a member of the Phuket chapter of LCT, who declined to be named, has now told The Phuket News that the project is on hold while the LCT waits for funding from the government.

“The volunteer lawyers, who are to provide the assistance at police stations, have been trained, but the program has been suspended until money is available to compensate the lawyers for their service. We have given the case to the Budget Bureau to consider, but there is no government to consider the issue as yet,” said the official, declining to be named.

The free legal advice was to be available at the two police stations from 8:30am to 4pm seven days, except public holidays.

“Tourists and other foreigners, who often get into transportation-related problems such as car accidents, often do not understand police workings. The volunteer lawyers at police stations can help solve this problem,” said Nuannit Chantawong of the Phuket chapter of the Lawyers Council of Thailand said in announcing the project.

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Kurt | 15 June 2019 - 10:21:36

What happen with the budgets for volunteer beach cleaners? ( there much be something)

Kurt | 14 June 2019 - 20:14:19

The differents!
The foreigners giving their time as volunteer tourist police officers in the past were doing it for free.

The new group of 'volunteer' thai lawyers want to be paid.
A smart upgrading of being a volunteer. Yup-yup!  :-)

Kurt | 14 June 2019 - 12:58:09

I remember that Patong police station did sack all the foreign tourist volunteer police who were speaking foreign languages some time ago. These volunteers were never replaced. Is this attempt/initiative of having volunteer lawyers, who want to be paid(!) mend as replacement of previous  Tourist police officers? Well, this different group not come for free. Understandable, yes?

Timothy | 14 June 2019 - 12:38:55

Silly me, when I read the first article I thought that these guys were actually volunteering their services for free. Sort of like doctors that do free surgeries etc. I was pretty surprised... Now this makes sense. Waiting for the money money money....These guys shouldn't be called 'volunteers'. More like opportunists. But still a good program to have. 

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