Free legal aid - who has the right to avail?


Do you have debts? Do you need legal assistance but cannot afford it? See what has changed in Polish law regarding free legal assistance. The new law on free legal aid no longer requires proving a poor financial situation - it is enough to submit an appropriate statement. It also introduced free civic counseling and mediation. Free legal aid - check who can benefit!

Free legal aid - what does the new version of the act give?

Even though you don't have the money to pay for legal advice, you don't have to give up your rights. According to the amendment to the law on free legal aid, which entered into force in 2019, the real financial situation of a person in need is important. This means that a person applying for legal support does not have to show a bad financial situation, e.g. showing PIT, but it is enough for him to submit a declaration. It should say that you cannot cover the costs of paid legal advice.

The legal novelties concern, apart from free legal aid (attorney or lawyer in court for free), also free mediation and free civic counseling. In their case, it is also enough to submit a declaration to benefit from the assistance. Citizen counseling helps mainly in cases of housing debt and when the problem is related to social security. It is informing the person concerned about the rights and obligations related to the case and providing advice on how to solve the problem on their own, together with the preparation of an action plan.

Free mediation - a novelty in Polish law

Free mediation (Article 3 (1) (3a) and (4a) of the Free Legal Aid Act) is assistance in which the lawyer informs the person concerned about how to solve his problem in an amicable and less costly way. When the authorized person agrees to mediation (i.e. the amicable method), the lawyer prepares an application for mediation and a draft mediation agreement. This is complemented by a criminal mediation project.

This process may be carried out by a mediator entered on the list of permanent mediators of a district court or a person "entered into the list of mediators kept by an NGO in the scope of its statutory tasks or a university referred to in the Act - Code of Civil Procedure". The mediator must be a person who does not raise doubts as to the impartial approach to the client and his case.

Is it worth using free legal aid?

This is a great way to protect your rights for people who don't have the money to do so. Free legal aid is the possibility of obtaining from a lawyer:

  • information about the applicable legal status - also in the case of pending proceedings,
  • knowledge about the rights and obligations of the citizen (also applies to pending proceedings),
  • information on court costs and financial risk when the case is brought to court,
  • a draft letter, e.g. a statement of claim, application, etc. (does not apply to pleadings of pending preparatory, court and administrative proceedings),
  • a draft letter for exemption from court costs,
  • a draft letter for the appointment of an ex officio attorney, attorney, tax advisor, attorney at law, patent attorney in the case of administrative court proceedings.

Free legal aid does not apply to matters related to economic activity. It can be granted only if you want to start such an activity.

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