Pro Bono and Pro Deo are terms that are very well known to those who work in the legal field, especially Advocates. However, these two terms may not be fully understood by the general public, including people who are in need of legal assistance when dealing with legal cases in court. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding on these two terms is needed so that any person of group who is qualified as financially incapable but needs legal assistance can get the most out of these free legal aids.
Pro Bono, which in Latin is known as Pro Bono Publico meaning for the public good, is a free of charge legal aid or service to the community carried out by Lawyers or Advocates for the public interest, or for parties who are considered financially incapable of accessing the court system. This is also explained in the Indonesian Dictionary that pro bono is a legal assistance that is given free of charge to someone who is involved in a legal case but unable to afford the services of Lawyers. Pro Bono is an obligation that must be carried out by Advocates as a respectable profession (officium nobile) as regulated in Article 22 paragraph (1) of Law Number 18 of 2003 on Advocate (“ Law 18/2003 ”), which stipulates that:
“Advocates are obliged to provide free of charge legal aid to justice seekers who cannot afford it.”
Furthermore, in the application of Pro Bono, even though the legal service is given free of charge, advocates must pay the same attention as when dealing with cases that are paid, as emphasized in various regulations as follows:
- Article 3 of Government Regulation Number 83 of 2008 on Requirements and Procedures for Providing Free Legal Assistance (“ GR 83/2008 ”) which stipulates that free legal assistance includes legal action for the benefit of justice seekers at every level of the judicial process, which also applies to providing legal assistance outside the court.
- Article 2 of PERADI Regulation Number 1 of 2010 on Guidelines for the Provision of Free Legal Assistance (“ PERADI Regulation 1/2010 ”) which stipulates that free of charge legal assistance provided by an advocate must be treated equally with legal assistance carried out with an honorarium.
- Article 4 letter f of the Code of Ethics for the Professional Advocate stipulates that Advocates in administering free of charge cases must pay the same attention as to cases with legal fees charged.
These regulations can provide certainty for people seeking justice, especially those from the poor who are unable to afford professional legal aids.
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Pro Bono Submission Procedure
The requirements for applying for Pro Bono legal assistance include:
- submitting a written application to an Advocate through an Advocates Organization or through a Legal Assistance Institute;
- submitting a written application that lists name, address, occupation and a brief description of the subject matter for which legal assistance is requested;
- attaching a Certificate of Incapacity ( Surat Keterangan Tidak Mampu , “ SKTM ’) made by an authorized local official. The SKTM made by the local official is the only criteria to apply for Pro Bono legal assistance so that only justice seekers who fall into the poor category can receive free legal assistance.
Free of charge legal assistance is one of the obligations that must be fulfilled by every advocate in order to realize equality before the law and access to justice for all people in the context of realizing social justice.
The latin term Pro Deo, which means for the shake of God, substantially has the same meaning as in forma pauperis (in the manner of the poor), that is, free of charge litigation held for both the Plaintiff and the Defendant who are unable to pay court fees, or legally known as the waiver of court fees. Circular Letter of the Supreme Court Number 10 of 2010 on Guidelines for Providing Legal Aid (“ CLSC 10/2010 ”) stipulates that Pro Deo is a litigation process in court which is financed through the Court’s Budget Implementation List ( Daftar Isian Pelaksanaan Anggaran, “ DIPA ”).
Pro Deo Submission Requirements
In accordance with Article 7 paragraph (2) of the Regulation of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia Number 1 of 2014 concerning Guidelines for Providing Legal Services for the Poor in Court (“ RSCRI 1/2014 ”), any person or group of people who wish to obtain a court fee waiver must be qualified as financially incapable, which is proven with supporting documents, as follows:
- SKTM issued by the Village Head/Head of the local area stating that the person or group concerned is unable to pay court fees, or
- Other Social Benefits Certificates such as Poor Family Cards ( Kartu Keluarga Miskin , “ KKM ”), Community Health Insurance Cards ( Kartu Jaminan kesehatan Masyarakat, “ Jamkesmas ”), Poor Rice Cards ( Kartu Beras Miskin , “ Raskin ”), Family Hope Program Cards ( Kartu Program Keluarga Harapan , “ PKH ”), Cash Transfer Card ( Kartu Bantuan Langsung Tunai , “ BLT ”), Social Protection Cards ( Kartu Perlindungan Sosial , “ KPS ”), or other documents related to the list of poor people in the government’s integrated database, or documents issued by other agencies authorized to provide information on poverty.
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Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for scientific reading and marketing purposes only from ADCO Law. Accordingly, all the writings contained herein do not constitute the formal legal opinion of ADCO Law. Therefore, ADCO Law should be held harmless of and/or cannot be held responsible for anything performed by entities who use this writing outside the purposes of ADCO Law.