English-speaking lawyers in Phuket offer services for free
PHUKET: Starting on June 9, foreigners in Phuket including tourists wishing to speak to English-speaking lawyers can now do so at Phuket City Police Station and Patong Police Station – free of charge.
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The Lawyers Council of Thailand is offering free legal services as part of a nationwide campaign in empowering people to understand and have knowledge of the law, said Nuannit Chantawong of the Phuket chapter of the Lawyers Council of Thailand.
Nuannit said that free legal advice at Phuket City Police Station and Patong Police Station will be available from 8:30am to 4pm every day including weekend, except public holidays.
In a report from The Phuket News, Nuannit revealed that there are 32 lawyers who volunteered in Phuket (as of May 30).
“The number of volunteer English-speaking lawyers is likely to increase further,” she added.
Lawyers have easier access to people in need of legal assistance at police stations, Miss Nuannit noted.
“This, in turn, will save costs (of the state) by reducing the number of cases heard in court and redress social inequality by providing people with access to legal services,” she added.
The project – which is expected to continue for six months – was approved by Cabinet on Mar 19, with volunteer lawyers approved to provide free legal advice at 150 police stations in the country, Miss Nuannit noted.
“Tourists and other foreigners, who often get into transportation-related problems such as car accidents, often do not understand police workings. The volunteer lawyers at police stations could help solve this problem,” she added.
“The volunteer lawyers, who can speak in English, will be available at Patong Police Station. In addition, each police station (involved in the project) will have an interpreter that can translate between English and Thai,” she said.
“This will make it better if a tourist or foreigner works and talks with us. If they have any doubts, we suggest they bring their own translator to help communicate at the police station, so the cases can clear faster,” Miss Nuannit said.
The Lawyers Council of Thailand expects some 10,000 lawyers to sign up to assist with the project, in order to provide free legal services to an estimated 250,000 people.
The Lawyers Council of Thailand is expected to hold a series of public conferences this Saturday (June 8) to bring police up to speed with the project.
Source: The Phuket News
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