The Guarantees of Free, Pre-Trial Legal Assistance in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland

The paper aims to proffer an analysis of the guarantees of free, pre-trial legal assistance in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. Although the right to a fair trial constitutes one of the fundamental human rights in Poland as well as in international law, its scope does not seem to encompass the right to free legal advice. This issue plays an important role in the context of equal access to legal assistance for the poorest strata of society. Therefore, the regulations of Polish Constitution which could embody, even if indirectly, the right to free legal assistance are presented. The principle of democratic state ruled by law, right to a trial, prohibition of discrimination and selected social and economic rights are analyzed. The Act of 5 August 2015 on free legal assistance and legal education is also a subject of analysis. The law has been in force since 1 January 2016 and has created a national system of legal advice which guarantees access to free legal assistance for the poorest strata of society.

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