Action Plan for National Rollout and Enhancement of Legal Services
February 17, 2022
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“JFBA”) compiled the “Action Plan for National Rollout and Enhancement of Legal Services” dated February 17, 2022.
Summary of Action Plan
1. Opening Law Firms, etc.
- )In all district court branch jurisdictions with no lawyer or only one lawyer, we will make efforts to increase the number of attorneys.
- )In summary court jurisdictions with a population of 30,000 people or more and municipalities with a population of 30,000 people or more, we will aim to resolve the situation caused by a high density of attorneys or lacking thereof, starting with areas with a high degree of attorney shortage and a high demand for attorneys.
- )Regardless of the population size, in the areas which don’t fall under (ii) but are determined that there is a high degree of need for opening a law firm(s), taking into consideration poor access to attorneys and demand from the communities, we will make efforts to open law firm(s).
- )In district court branch jurisdictions, we will make efforts to lower the number of areas with no female attorneys as much as possible, and design a system to ultimately resolve the situation. Through this, we will make efforts to eliminate areas of zero female attorneys in district court branch jurisdictions.
2. Improving and Building Readiness for Providing Legal Counseling Services
- ）We will make it a policy to open a legal counseling center run by bar associations (including patrol-style ones, hereinafter referred to as "Legal Counseling Center(s)") in each district court branch jurisdiction, taking into consideration the need for legal counseling, etc. In cases where the policy can’t be implemented based on circumstances faced by the community, alternatives (attorney stand-by service, lawyer referral service, remote counseling service such as online counseling and telephone counseling, etc.) will be explored to fulfill the diverse needs of its residents. Through this, we will ensure legal counseling by an attorney within a week and prompt acceptance of cases.
- ）In summary court jurisdictions with a population of 30,000 people or more and municipalities with a population of 30,000 people or more, we will actively cooperate with organizations and bodies, such as the Japan Legal Support Centers (hereinafter referred to as "Houterasu"), local governments (prefectures and municipalities), the Social Welfare Councils, the Legal Affairs Bureaus, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Multicultural Symbiosis General Consultation One Stop Information Centers, to ensure legal counseling by an attorney within a week and prompt acceptance of cases.
3. Enhancing Legal Counseling Services, etc.
- ) In all district court branch jurisdictions, we will ensure that 2 or more attorneys under contract to provide civil legal aid are on duty at all times, and also, in principle, counseling via civil legal aid is available in all of the Legal Counseling Centers.
- )In summary court jurisdictions with a population of 30,000 people or more and municipalities with a population of 30,000 people or more, we will aim to ensure that at least one attorney under contract to provide civil legal aid is on duty at all times, and also ensure acceptance of cases of civil legal aid in cooperation with Houterasu, municipalities, etc.
- )In the Legal Counseling Centers (or alternatives under a different system), we will make efforts to respond to the need for counseling by female attorneys by ensuring as many sessions by female attorneys as possible.
- )We will make efforts to allow Legal Counseling Center users to seek to promptly resolve conflicts they are facing not only through legal counseling but also through using other services such as ADR centers run by bar associations.
4. Building Readiness for Criminal Cases Defended by Court-Appointed Attorneys and Juvenile Cases Supported by Attorney Attendants
- ) We will aim to ensure readiness in preparing for the realization of a public defense service being provided at the time of arrests.
- ) We will ensure readiness in preparing for the realization of court-appointed attorney attendants for all juvenile cases where juvenile offenders are housed at juvenile classification homes. We will also ensure a response nationwide for other cases requiring assistance from an attorney attendant.
- ) We will make efforts to continue and grow the “Financial Aid Fund for Juveniles” and enhance the “JFBA Legal Assistance Project” in order to ensure readiness for criminal cases defended by court-appointed attorneys and juvenile cases supported by attorney attendants.
5. Building Readiness for Providing Support for Crime Victims
We will ensure readiness in preparing for the realization of establishing a system to support crime victims nationwide by allowing them to receive legal services from attorneys at an early stage, paid for by the government (government-funded legal aid for crime victims).