Legal Defense Program

The BHC's legal defense program began its activities in 1995. Since its establishment, the program has aimed at the effective implementation of the then-new for Bulgaria mechanism for legal protection before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Among the first cases of the program before the ECtHR are the cases of Velikova v. Bulgaria, Hasan and Chaush v. Bulgaria, and Ivanova v. Bulgaria.

Today, the program provides free legal aid to representatives of vulnerable groups, victimized with systemic and structural discrimination, who are unlikely to otherwise receive effective legal aid or justice. Legal aid is provided for cases of violations of fundamental human rights and consists of consultations and legal representation in cases.

The program also monitors the implementation of the Protection against Discrimination Act and prepares its analyzes – both for the purposes of the annual report of the organization on the state of human rights in Bulgaria and for the purposes of special reports.

The legal program also provides legal opinions to the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary – with participation in working groups and with opinions on bills, as well as opinions on interpretative cases of the Supreme Courts. The program also provides opinions to the Constitutional Court, the President, the ECtHR, and various mechanisms of the Council of Europe, the EU and the UN.

The experts in the program also organize various training and participate as lecturers in international legal forums.