The effort to formulate certain principles of ethics binding on the persons associated with Linking Help has been expressed in this document.
Part I – Mission of the Linking Help
Linking Help is driven by the mission to provide people in need with access to justice and legal support. Our belief is that every individual should have the right to live in safety and security and access legal assistance when necessary, regardless of their circumstances. To this end, our platform connects people in need with lawyers who have agreed to provide pro bono legal support, empowering people in need to navigate complex legal systems and assert their legal rights.
Part II – Common Principles
- This Code of Ethics aims to outline the ethical standards of providing pro bono legal aid by attorneys to persons in need with limited means seeking pro bono legal aid within Linking Help.
- In addition, it seeks to prevent misuse of pro bono legal aid, unlawful conduct and the criminal liability of Linking Help.
- This Code of Ethics concerns employees and interns of Linking Help, attorneys providing pro bono legal aid, as well as persons in need with limited means seeking pro bono legal aid.
- Persons in need with limited means seeking pro bono legal aid respect the limits of provision of pro bono legal aid and they seek to comply with its intent.
- Persons requesting legal advice are not to be charged a fee by the volunteer attorney for the general legal consultation. Exceptions can occur for administration fees. Should further legal presentation be required, the remuneration of the attorney shall depend on the agreement between the person in need and the attorney. Attorneys choose pro bono cases according to their will, time, and capacity.
- Employees and interns of Linking Help, as well as attorneys providing pro bono legal aid, are expected to comply with the principles set out in this Code and contribute to maintaining the positive reputation of Linking Help.
- Each employee and intern of Linking Help shall comply with the laws of the Czech Republic. They shall refrain from criminal conduct. Each attorney shall similarly comply with the laws of the state in which he or she operates and with all applicable regulations of the Bar Association of that state, particularly in respect of professional ethics.
- In addition, they must respect moral principles and precepts, comply with this Code and the basic rules of etiquette and must display good manners at all times.
- They shall respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, inviolability of a person and his or her privacy, the right to human dignity, honour, and good reputation, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. They must apply full effort to avoid any conduct that would violate these rights and freedoms. They shall aim to provide efficient help.
- Employees and interns of Linking Help shall not apply inappropriate or improper pressure on attorneys or other employees or interns, as well as on persons in need with limited means seeking pro bono legal aid. Any critical observations they present must be well founded.
- If they find out that any employee, intern, attorney or person with limited means seeking pro bono legal aid has acted unethically, and such conduct is intolerable, they must take reasonable steps to remedy the situation in compliance with good morals. They shall seek to prevent such conduct at all times.
- Employees and interns of Linking Help, attorneys and persons with limited means seeking pro bono legal aid shall not use the Linking Help platform to promote any interests of political parties or movements, or to promote political views.
- They must at all times protect the mission of Linking Help. They shall not place their private interests above the mission of Linking Help.
- They must respect the mission of Linking Help and refrain from any conduct that could harm the good reputation of Linking Help. They acknowledge that they represent Linking Help externally through their conduct, manners, and work.
- They shall avoid conflicts of interest and if such situations arise, they must immediately notify Linking Help thereof in an appropriate way.
- They shall reject discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, nationality, ideology, religion, faith, world view, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical handicap, language, social origin, or property. They shall treat everybody with respect, irrespective of social or cultural differences. They shall comply with the principle of equal approach and equal opportunities.
Part III – Principles of Pro Bono Legal Aid
- Employees and interns must treat persons with limited means seeking pro bono legal aid with honesty, fairness, cooperativeness, and openness. They will not humiliate, will not act immorally, and will not exercise pressure.
- Pro bono legal aid is provided, but not strictly limited, to:
- foreigners without employment or with limited income seeking legal aid regarding residence (visas, long-term residence, family reunification), extradition order, detention due to extradition, citizenship, employment-related issues
- unaccompanied minors
- refugees seeking legal aid
This enumeration is not comprehensive and does not encompass all possible groups of people in need.
- Linking Help shall use its funds sensibly and effectively. Linking Help is aware of its responsibility to society and to donors whose means they utilize.
- Upon request of a donor, Linking Help shall provide evidence of management of funds granted.
Part IV – Ethics Commission
- The Ethics Commission is established to deal with submissions concerning compliance with the Code of Ethics.
- The details about the Ethics Commission, the procedures for accepting submissions and its relationship to other ethics commissions acting within Linking Help are stipulated in the Code of Procedure for the Ethics Commission.