LSC President Attends 2005 International Forum on Legal Aid in Taiwan

October 24, 2005

October 24, 2005


His Excellency President Chen Shui-bian, Republic of China (Taiwan) poses with the foreign participants at the 2005 International Forum on Legal Aid, including LSC President Helaine M. Barnett. President Chen is standing to the right of Helaine M. Barnett, just left of center.

LSC President Helaine M. Barnett was invited as a guest of the Legal Aid Foundation of Taiwan to participate in their 2005 International Forum on Legal Aid in Taipei, Taiwan on October 15-17, 2005. In addition to Taiwan, representatives from 17 countries - 10 based in Southeast Asia - participated in the Forum, including Australia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, England and Wales, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United States and Vietnam. Representatives from around the world were invited to share their experiences with the provision of legal services to the poor, to engage in an exchange of ideas, and to network. The group was greeted by His Excellency President Chen Shui-bian, Republic of China (Taiwan) who, in his remarks, specifically noted that he was extremely honored to have LSC's president in attendance. In his remarks, President Chen said that, "the establishment of a legal aid system will help realize the universal value of human equality. It is the responsibility and obligation of a democratic government to establish, support, and promote a legal aid system."

The Taiwan Legal Aid Act was passed by law and promulgated by President Chen of Taiwan on January 1, 2004 and was patterned after the Legal Services Corporation Act. Within one year, the Legal Aid Foundation had established 19 branch offices and handled over 17,000 cases.

In May, a delegation from the Taiwan Legal Aid Foundation visited LSC's corporate headquarters in Washington, DC. During their visit, LSC staff took them to visit the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland, during which Wilhelm Joseph, Executive Director, and his senior staff provided a detailed briefing of their operations. Wilhelm Joseph also attended the Forum in Taiwan as a representative of the United States.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.