General information

Legal information

A person who has applied for international protection (for the applicant) and for the foreigner against whom proceedings are pending on depriving him/her a refugee status or subsidiary protection shall be entitled to free legal information in the first instance.

Free legal information consists of informing the foreigner of the existing legal provisions relating to the granting of international protection, withdrawing refugee status or subsidiary protection and provisions governing proceedings before public administration bodies regarding cases within their jurisdiction, taking into account the specific situation of those persons.

Free legal information is provided by the employees of the Department for Refugee Proceedings in Warsaw (ul. Taborowa 33) and in Biala Podlaska (ul. Dokudowska 19).

Free legal assistance

A foreigner and applicant towards whom a decision depriving him/her of refugee status or subsidiary protection was issued, and who acts without a lawyer is entitled to free legal assistance.

A foreigner towards whom decision depriving him/her refugee status or subsidiary protection was issued is not entitled to free legal assistance, if his/her income is greater than 100 % of income criteria laid down in Art. 8 of the Act of 12 March 2004 on social assistance. A lawyer, or legal adviser who provides free legal assistance, or non-governmental organization conducting charitable activities, authorized to provide free legal assistance shall inform a foreigner towards whom the decision depriving him/her a refugee status or subsidiary protection was issued before submitting his/her statement on the amount of income above which free legal assistance is not available. A foreigner towards whom the decision depriving him/her of refugee status or subsidiary protection was issued, before obtaining free legal assistance shall submit a written statement that he/she does not generate income referred to above.

A foreigner who was entitled prior to obtaining free legal aid shall submit a written statement containing a declaration that regarding granting international protection, or depriving him/her of refugee status or subsidiary protection, he/she has not appointed a lawyer or a legal adviser.

Free legal assistance includes:

  • preparation of an appeal against the decision on:
    • Refusal to grant refugee status or subsidiary protection;
    • Discontinuation of the proceedings on granting international protection;
    • Transfer of the applicant to the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection and discontinuation of the proceedings;
    • Recognition an application for international protection as inadmissible;
    • Refusal to take into account the applicant’s statement about its intention to continue applying for international protection,
    • Withdrawal of the refugee status or subsidiary protection;
  • Legal representation in the appeal proceedings on:
    • Granting of international protection;
    • The transfer of the applicant to the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection;
    • Withdrawal of refugee status or subsidiary protection.

Free legal assistance is provided in person by:

  • Lawyer, legal adviser or
  • A person who is not a lawyer or a legal adviser employed by the NGO engaged in charitable activities, authorized to provide free legal assistance.

The lawyer or legal adviser may refuse for valid reasons to provide free legal assistance, informing an entitled foreigner about other lawyers, legal advisers or persons providing free legal assistance in the voivodeship (province). The person providing free legal assistance may refuse for valid reasons to provide free legal assistance. Non-governmental organization conducting charitable activities authorized to provide free legal assistance, employing that person informs entitled foreigner about lawyers, legal advisers or persons providing free legal assistance in the voivodeship. The lawyer or legal adviser is obliged to provide a replacement, in case he/she is not be able to provide free legal assistance. When employed in the NGO leading charitable activities person authorized to provide free legal assistance is not be able to provide free legal assistance, this organization is obliged to provide a replacement.

An entitled foreigner may in the appeal process take advantage of free legal assistance provided by only one lawyer, legal adviser or a person who is granting free legal assistance.

An entitled foreigner presents to the lawyer, legal advisor or other person providing free legal assistance, before granting free legal assistance a document confirming the identity, and the original of the decision. In order to provide free legal assistance it is necessary for an entitled foreigner to grant written authorization to the lawyer, legal advisor, or other person providing free legal assistance. The Lawyer, legal advisor or person providing free legal assistance shall immediately place on the original of the decision a clause informing about undertaking on certain date to provide a free legal assistance to a foreigner designated as the addressee of the decision.

Head of the Office maintains a list of non-governmental organizations engaged in charitable activities, authorized to provide free legal assistance. Information about the legal advisers, lawyers and non-governmental organizations engaged in charitable activities included in that list is posted on the website of the office handling the Head of the Office.