We are an organisation established in 1989 by the members of the Helsinki Committee in Poland.
Our mission is - the development of the human liberties and rights culture, both domestically and abroad.
Since 2007 we have Consultative Status with the United Nation's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Access to justice – Equality of arms in the judicial proceeding
ph.: /22/ 556 44 69
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In January 2006, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights began the performance (together with Polish Section of the International Commission of Jurists) of the project "Access to Justice - Equality of Arms in the Judicial Proceeding". The project is funded by the European Commission. The main objective of this project is striving to guarantee the actual equality of arms during judicial proceedings, as well as the protection of the rights of the weaker (inferior) party in proceedings held before administrative organs.
Our experience has shown that actual inequality of arms often occurs during civil proceedings. Recent profound reforms of civil procedure have lifted the obligation for courts to provide legal guidance and information to parties. As a result, individuals acting without a professional legal representative are often incapable of effectively benefiting from their rights during proceedings. Individuals belonging to groups that for various reasons find themselves in a more difficult situation than the remainder of the society, especially prisoners and refugees, also have problems with effectively defending their interests during proceedings.
The "Access to Justice - Equality of arms in the judicial proceeding" project provides for a series of activities (as part of such programs as: Clinic 42, precedential cases program, courtwatch, cost-free advice for foreigners and refugees, comprehensive counseling in civil matters) that will be aimed at ensuring the actual equality of arms in judicial proceedings. We intend to take actions aimed at establishing an efficient system of assistance for aliens seeking refugee status, ensuring professional assistance for convicted offenders, as well as guaranteeing access to legal assistance for individuals who cannot afford a professional representative in civil proceedings.Detailed information about actions taken as part of the "Access to Justice - Equality of arms in the judicial proceeding" Project can be found in our monthly bulletin "In the Public Interest", which is available on-line on this website.