Youth Forum

Legal Clinics, Social Law, and the Rights of Protected Vulnerable Groups

Congress Centre, conference hall B3
International Youth Legal Forum
The challenges of today require renewed focus, and the free legal aid system is no exception. It has become vital to rapidly find ways of extending legal aid to new categories of people. Those participating in the special military operation and protecting Russia’s border territories often have severely limited access to high-quality paid legal assistance. This not only applies to military personnel, mobilized citizens and volunteers themselves, but also to family members. Russia’s probation system also needs effective tools to allow released convicts to have timely access to legal assistance. Issues such as these require further evaluation by the human rights community. Legal clinics play a special role in the free legal aid system. These well-established institutions have done much to raise general legal awareness, and are also an effective training tool for lawyers. In focusing on practical skills, they are following today’s trend for greater practical emphasis in higher education, including in jurisprudence. The needs of the labour market are a key factor here, with increasing demand for competent, mobile, and competitive professionals. Today, people have good awareness of legal clinics, which meet an important need for those requiring free professional legal aid. The categories of people qualifying for free legal assistance are set out in article 20 of the federal law, “On Free Legal Aid in the Russian Federation”. These include people in need of additional social welfare, assistance, and protection due to difficult personal circumstances, disease, financial situation, or age. Young legal students are ready to provide such assistance. However, this must be done in a measured and competent manner. Mechanisms need to be in place to check the quality of aid provided. These should involve both university teaching staff and management. What is meant by the term “socially vulnerable”? Do people have access to high-quality free legal aid? How have legal clinics helped provide legal assistance to socially vulnerable people? What can be done to expand social guarantees in a timely and focused manner to those participating in the special military operation and their families? What effective tools can be employed to integrate the free legal aid and probation systems?


Vyacheslav Nizamov
Director of the Legal Clinic, St. Petersburg State University


Svetlana Agapitova
Commissioner for Human Rights in St. Petersburg
Oleg Vavilov
Director of the Department of Civil Service and Personnel, Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation
Roman Ryaby
Director of the Department for Development and Regulation of Legal Aid and Legal Services, Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation
Elena Spiridonova
Executive Director – Chief of Staff, Russian Bar Association
Maksim Sukhovetsky
Legal Department Consultant, Executive Secretary of the Youth Council, Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia)

Front row participants

Angelina Solodukhina
Member of the Youth Council under the Commissioner for Human Rights in St. Petersburg
Vladimir Shakhov
Member of the Youth Council under the Commissioner for Human Rights in St. Petersburg