The Legal Hundred
Legal Hundred NGO is a Ukrainian non-profit organisation that provides social and legal protection to veterans of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and their families. It works with NATO, the UN, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian ministries of veteran affairs, defence, and social affairs. Legal Hundred is a member of the Reanimation Package of Reforms association in Kyiv and the resident of Veteran Hub in Kyiv.
According to Chatham House, Legal Hundred plays a “leading role in the process of reforming the legal framework that defines the status of veterans in Ukraine.”
Legal Hundred was founded in 2014 as a group of volunteer lawyers on Facebook, who provided legal assistance to wounded participants of the Russian-Ukrainian war. It was registered as a non-profit organisation in January 2015.
The first programme of the Legal Hundred was a free legal aid hotline, which was launched in December 2014.
The hotline 0800308100 is staffed by 5 qualified lawyers who provide pro bono advice on military law and social benefits to veterans and the families of deceased soldiers. Over the course of the hotline’s existence, more than 70 000 people received free legal aid. The most frequently asked questions at Legal Hundred’s hotline are: military service and military discharge, social protection and adaptation of veterans, labor rights.
Thanks to legal aid hotline, we are connected with Ukrainian veterans and staying informed about their wants and needs. All our policymaking initiatives and advocacy campaigns are based on call inquiries which were received by Legal Hundred’s hotline. For our team, hotline is a valuable source of information, and for veterans – it’s a place where they can get high quality legal advice.
In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Hundred’s hotline operators also provided free legal aid to those who require help regarding new regulations, changes due to pandemic, self-isolation, testing, payments to doctors and businesses, and fines for violating quarantine conditions.
In 2016-2019, more than 250 lawyers have worked as volunteers for Legal Hundred. Representatives of Legal Hundred have provided free legal assistance, consultations, and represented veterans in the courts in Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhia, Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Kharkiv. They regularly interacted with local authorities to address issues arising from the social protection of veterans.
Legal Hundred provides a 200-page-long illustrated guide with information about the rights, responsibilities and social guarantees of Ukrainian veterans. The guide, which is officially approved by the Ukrainian government, is regularly updated in accordance with legislative changes. More than 150,000 copies of the guide, some of which have distributed by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, have been given to Ukrainian servicemen, volunteers and non-profit organisations.
Since 2016, the Legal Hundred has helped Ukrainian policymakers draft and advocate for bills, laws, state strategies, and programmes related to the social and legal protection of veterans. This has included, for example, the:
- Creation of a financial assistance programme for the family members of veterans who have died from illness, injury, and contusion within one year of military discharge.
- Adoption of equal rights and conditions for female and male servicemen – both for contracted soldiers and military reservists.
- Provision of equal financial aid for all soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including foreigners, who have either died or been disabled.
- Awarding of veteran status to volunteer soldiers.
- Introduction of the Unified State Register of War Veterans.
- Creation of a professional sergeant corps and updating of the rank system in order to conform to NATO standards.
One of the main achievements of Legal Hundred is the successful advocacy campaign it waged from 2017-18 to establish the Ministry of Veterans Affairs. Prior to the launch of the campaign, the Ukrainian government lacked a ministry dedicated to the creation of veteran-related policies. After a months-long effort, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a resolution on the establishment of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine on 27 February 2018.
Besides advocating for its creation, Legal Hundred was closely involved with the creation of a Project Office, which sought to systematise the necessary legal materials needed for the ministry’s operation. In addition, it also worked on the development of a vision for a comprehensive social support for veterans and formulated a framework prescribing the ministry’s functions, tasks, structure, and responsibilities of the ministry. On September 19, 2018, the Project Office handed over to the Prime Minister of Ukraine the “White Paper” – a comprehensive analysis of the system of support for veterans in Ukraine and the development of the Project Office.
Legal Hundred currently distributes three weekly newsletters that cover veteran affairs and relevant parliamentary activities.
Legal Hundred regularly publishes analytical reports, analytical articles and bill analysis which are quoted by the Ukrainian media and public authorities. Titles of earlier reports include: “Veteran’s social benefits on regional level”, “Medical, psychological, professional rehabilitation and social adaptation”, “White Paper on veteran’s social protection”, and “Lawsuits involving veterans”.
School of Legal Hundred is a 5-month educational program aimed at increasing the capacity of veteran-related public organisations. Training at the School of the Legal Hundred is delivered by leading experts and public figures. At the end of the training, participants presented their projects to donors.
In 2020, Legal Hundred organised the training for attorneys who work in the system of state free legal aid. Amongst the topics covered are administrative and civil lawsuits of combatants, protection of servicemen in criminal cases and the review of war crimes.
The organisation provided training for workers of Ministry of Veteran Affairs regarding social protection of veterans and their transition to civilian life.
The lawyers of Legal Hundred NGO run weekly webinars on social media. During webinars, lawyers explain rights, duties and social guarantees of veterans and answer questions.