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NEWS

Short Update: Poland is restricting access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings, says Polish rights foundation

FT Admin - July 1, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Access to a lawyer, Remote Justice

The Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) has complained to the EU Commission that Poland is restricting access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings in contravention of the Access to a Lawyer Directive. 

The new laws allow courts to hold pre-trial detention hearings via a video link.  

However, although formally any detained person has the right to contact a lawyer, in reality making such contact is difficult, especially if the detained person does not have a telephone number of a specific lawyer or does not yet have an appointed legal aid lawyer. HFHR said: 

“The way in which video linked pre-trial detention and trial hearings are organised directly contravenes the Access to a Lawyer Directive. The new rules restrict suspects’ ability to contact a lawyer before the court hearing.” 

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