Proposal for more free legal advice at Phuket police stations
During a recent visit to Phuket, Chatchawan Suksomchit, the chairman of the Senate Standing Commission on Law, Justice and Police, reviewed a proposal aimed at increasing the availability of free legal advice at local police stations. The proposal was initiated by Rungnapha Putkaew, the President of the Phuket branch of the Lawyers Council of Thailand.
Currently, 76 registered lawyers are willing to provide this service. However, only one lawyer is available at both Patong Police Station and Phuket City Police Station to offer free legal advice from 8.30am to 4.30pm, including weekends and public holidays.
Rungnapha’s goal is to have more lawyers providing free legal assistance to people in need, including tourists, at police stations. She suggested that free legal service providers be made available at more police stations, such as Chalong Police Station, Thalang Police Station, and Wichit Police Station.
These lawyers would be equipped to help foreigners with basic legal issues, such as traffic accidents, reported Phuket News. Rungnapha explained that some lawyers have the necessary language skills to support foreign nationals with basic legal advice. However, if a language barrier arises, the foreigner can return another day to consult with a different lawyer.
The main limitation for implementing this proposal is funding, as the government pays for the lawyers providing these free services. Although Rungnapha did not divulge how much the lawyers are compensated for their work, she acknowledged that the project has faced financial challenges since its inception in 2019.
The initiative for pro bono legal counsel at police stations is especially beneficial in diverse areas like Phuket, where a vast range of individuals could benefit from the service. The assistance provided by volunteer lawyers would effectively help to alleviate the financial burdens faced by local people as they deal with legal issues.
Chatchawan has commented that the proposal will be considered by the Senate. Moreover, the work of volunteer lawyers, and their potential positive impact on the tourism sector, will be brought to the Senate’s attention.
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