Legal Aid System in Indonesia
Legal Aid System in Indonesia
Legal Aid System in Indonesia
by Erna Ratnaningsih
Indonesia Supreme Court
Indonesia is the fourth
largest country on the earth.
Indonesia comprises over
Population of Indonesia is
More than 28 Million live
below poverty line.
300 ethnic group.
Gross National Income $
3,563 per capita.
A Short History of Legal Aid in Indonesia
In the colonial period, legal services for the poor were
provided by lawyers only for the death penalty cases.
Tjandra Naya is social organization who provided legal aid
for Chinese people in 1950’s.
The first legal aid program which organized by Indonesian
Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) in 1970’s.
Legal Consultant Bureaues from Faculty of Law.
The variety of legal aid programs :
Community legal education.
YLBHI and it’s 16 branch offices has been using a structural legal
aid framework and approach which means legal aid as a tool to
reform law and political structure that repress the marginalized
and the disadvantaged.
The initiative emerged to have legal aid based on the number of
cases of the poor who cannot be provided by legal aid institutions
as they only have limited advocates and branch offices in the
The advocacy of legal aid Act had been started since 2003 by
preparing academic draft of a bill and drfat of legal aid bull.
The Legal Aid Bill was passed in 2011, it becomes the foundation
of the state to ensure citizen rights as stated in Indonesian
Constitution to get access to justice and equality before the law.
The Activities of YLBHI-LBH
Empowering People in
Discussion and Research
The Structure of
Indonesia Legal Aid System
The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights appointed one of it’s
body namely the National Law Development Agency (BPHN) as
the implementer of legal aid in Indonesia.
The minister has duties to :
1. formulate and set policy to organize the Legal Aid;
2. help prepare and establish legal aid standards in accordance
with the principles of legal aid provisions;
3. prepare a Legal Aid budget plan;
4. manage the Legal Aid budget effectively, efficiently,
transparently and accountably; and
5. prepare and submit reports on the legal aid organization to the
House of Representatives at the end of each fiscal year.
Legal aid providers are legal aid institutes or community organizations
that provide legal aid services who have accreditation from BPHN.
There are 310 legal aid providers who have accreditation from BPHN.
The legal aid providers also have obligation to :
a. report to the Minister on legal aid programs;
b. report any expenditure of the state budget that is used for the provision
of legal aid.
c. provide education and training of legal aid for lawyers, paralegals,
lecturers, law students .
d. maintain confidentiality of data, information, and/or information
obtained from the Legal Aid Recipient relating to the matters being dealt
with, unless otherwise stipulated by the Law; and
e. provide a Legal Aid to the Legal Aid Recipient in accordance with the
terms and procedures specified in this Law until the case is completed,
unless there are legitimate reasons.
Eligibility Criteria and Merits Test
The definition of the concept of the poor under article 5 of Indonesia
Legal Aid Act states :
(1) Recipients of Legal Aid as referred to in Article 4 paragraph (1)
includes any person or a group of poor people who cannot meet the
basic right appropriately and independently.
(2) Basic rights referred to in paragraph (1) includes the right to
food, clothing, health services, education services, employment and
enterprise, and/or housing.
The beneficiary of legal aid must meet the following condition to
obtain free legal services such as : :
a. submit a written application containing at least the identity of the
applicant and a brief description of the case based on which a Legal Aid
b. submit documents pertaining to the case; and
c. attach this letter of information certifying that he/she is poor from the
head of village or any other official having equal level at the Legal Aid
Scope of Legal Aid Services
The variety of legal aid services : criminal, civil and administrative
Litigation cases through assistance and/or representation from the
investigation stage, prosecution stage; assistance and/or representation
in the process of examination in the court; assistance and/or
representation of the legal aid aid provider in the state administrative
The non-litigation legal aid includes activities of legal information
dissemination, legal consultation, cases investigation electronically or
non-electronically, legal research, mediation, negotiation, community
empowerment, assistance outside of the court and or legal drafting.
The assistance can be given by the lawyers, paralegal, lecturers and
students of the law faculty within the accredited and verified legal aid
Legal Aid Budget
and Payment of Legal Aid
The source of legal aid funding :
The State Budget (APBN)
2. The regional budget (APBD).
3. Other source may include grant, donation and other untied and
legal source of funding is permitted.
Legal Aid budget in 2013 = IDR 40,3 billion (USD 358,333).
Legal Aid budget in 2014 = IDR 50 billion (USD 416,666).
The allocation of the legal aid budget do not cover operational
cost of legal aid providers but only for the cases.
One case for criminal and civil law in the court is IDR 5 million
The system of management funds is a reimbursement.
In the history of legal aid in Indonesia, the role of paralegals is
important to help poor people get justice.
They are limited number of advocates who provide legal aid
services for the poor so paralegals can help the community to
solve their legal problems in their regions.
Paralegals solve legal problem in the community, if the case is
too complex Paralegals will communicate and coordinate with
Paralegals can not represent poor people in the court, but they
can help lawyers to find the evidences.
Their role in legal aid services become strong as the Legal Aid Act
is the first regulation which recognizes the legal aid paralegal's
role in providing legal aid to the poor.
Challenging for the Implementation
of Legal Aid Act
The purpose of the Legal Aid Act is to ensure poor people get access
to justice through free legal aid services. It is also the implementation
of constitutional rights of every citizen to treat equal before the law.
One of the conclusions regarding the availability of adequate legal
representation for the poor from UNDP Research such as:
Most of legal aid providers locate in big cities especially Java and
Legal aid providers still find difficulty to provide their services as
the wide of working area and the geographic problems.
Limited lawyers, lack of funding, do not have legal status in the
legal aid providers.
The reimbursements system makes only limited poor people can
get free legal services as legal aid provider do not have money for
operational cost of cases.
BPHN identified several obstacles to implement Legal Aid Act namely:
The dissemination of legal aid providers are imbalanced with the location
of the poor.
Legal aid providers do not have experience to report fund from the State.
Many of society and law enforcement officials who do not know Legal Aid
Limited number of Advocates.
The programs of BPHN to solve the problems :
BPHN will help legal aid providers to get a legal status;
Making synergy and cooperation with the Supreme Court to handle cases
of the poor.
Data base synchronization with other institution to defines poverty.
Road map of legal assistance.
MoU between BPHN and the Indonesian Advocates Association.
Socialization program of Legal Aid Act.