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Costs involved in legal proceedings are court costs and lawyers remuneration - in cases where party is represented by a lawyer. When a party is granted full o partial legal aid with court costs he can also request for appointment of an advocate whose remuneration will be paid by the State.
Court costs include court fees and expenditures incurred by the court.
Court fees are registration fee and legal fees.
Court expenditures incurred by the court are:
- travel expanses of a party obliged by the court to appear personally before it,
- travel and hotel expenses of a witness as well as income lost because of his appearance before the court,
- remuneration and expenditures of expert witnesses, translators and probation officers,
- remuneration and expenditures of other persons and institutions;
- costs of taking of other evidences,
- costs of transport and of keeping of animals and things,
- costs of advertisements,
- costs of custody,
- outright for probation officers for their environmental inquiry
One can obtain full legal aid with the court costs or just partial. When one received partial legal aid with court costs he must pay the rest on his own.
It is however important that decision on legal aid does not release the loosing party from paying back the legal proceedings costs incurred by the wining party.
Legal aid is governed by Civil Procedure Code, the law on court costs in civil matters and the law on legal aid in civil proceedings before the courts of EU Member States.
There are two main legal aid devices:
a) assistance with court costs
b) assistance with lawyer’s fee
Legal aid is available for Polish nationals, citizens of all EU Member States and all natural persons that legal place of residence in one of EU Member States. A natural person can benefit from legal aid providing that he cannot afford the costs of legal proceeding without harm to his or his family maitenance. Legal person can benefit from legal aid if it has no recourses to afford the proceeding. When all these conditions are satisfied the court can rule that applicant is entitled to assistance.
Some groups are automatically released form all court costs. These are people claiming for:
a) affiliation and claims connected
c) unfair conditions in consumer agreements
The same exemption from all court costs concerns all employment and social benefits (e.g pensions) cases.
Legal aid can be obtained in all civil cases including: family matters, employment and social cases.
There is a possibility to make an oral request for legal aid at the hearing so there is no need to file an official request before the cases starts and wait for the decision until final judgment.
One can obtain a legal aid application in every Regional Court or District Court. There is no official application form for legal aid. Application is just in writing. But there are special forms for declarations that should be attached to the application (see section 7).
Request for legal aid should include petitioner’s declaration about his family, financial condition, property and sources of income. Request should also be accompanied by official documents proving information set out above as well as petitioner’s nationality, his place of habitual residence and when petitioner is not a EU Member State citizen documents proving that he has legal place of residence in one of EU Member States.
Requests for legal aid should be submitted to the court where proceedings are pending or where proceedings ought to be initiated. Where the applicant has no domicile in Poland he can submit application through competent authority of a Member State where he is resident or through the Polish Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of justice will forward the application to the competent court.
Information on assistance under legal aid scheme can be obtained from court where application has been brought. The court rules on the application and the applicant is served with judgment.
If one qualified only for legal aid then applicant should submit to the court where the proceedings are pending along with all declarations mentioned in section 7.
In cases where legal aid involved also costs of lawyer’s assistance the local bar association will appoint an advocate who will represent the applicant. He should then contact his advocate in case of any doubts.
Advocates are appointed for the particular proceedings by local bar association. There is however a possibility for applicant to change appointed advocate but only when it is justified with the circumstances. Also an advocate can refuse to take on a case when there are serious grounds for it.
It is however important that court will grant legal aid as to lawyers remuneration only when it considers that applicant in this particular case must be represented by an advocate.
Assistance is given to:
- court costs,
- lawyers remuneration - in cases where party is represented by a lawyer.
It is possible to get legal aid in both these fields so the applicant does not need to pay anything unless he looses the case because then he needs to pay the winning party procedural costs incurred by her.
If one qualifies for partial legal aid the remaining costs are paid by the applicant.
Approval legal aid in the court of first instance automatically extends to appeal and execution proceedings. However when there is partial legal aid covering only the costs of proceedings in the court of first instance the applicant can submit new application.
Assistance with court costs and lawyer’s remuneration may be revoked if it has been granted on basis of circumstances that have never occurred or disappeared after granting legal aid.
In the above mentioned situations applicant must repay all the court costs as well as advocate’s remuneration. There is however exemption concerning the second situation where the applicant must repay the costs only partially proportionally to the change in the applicant’s situation.
This rules do not apply also to situation where legal aid has been revoked because the claim or defence have been unreasonable.
There is a possibility to make a complaint against the decision on refusing legal aid or revoking it. This complaint shall be addressed to the court of higher instance then the court that made the decision on refusing legal aid but it should be submitted to the second mentioned court. The term to file this claim is one week and it starts when the applicant is effectively served with the court’s decision on legal aid. If the applicant did not request for service of the decision on legal aid then the term for submitting the claim starts from the date of publication of the court’s decision. When the decision on refusing legal aid has been made on a sitting in camera the applicant is automatically serviced with a judgment so the term for submitting the claim runs from the service date.
- Ombudsman website
Last update: 07-04-2005