International legal aid in preparatory proceedings – cooperation between the Republic of Austria and the Republic of Poland

The following legal instruments form the basis for cooperation between Poland and Austria:

–           The European convention on legal aid in criminal cases of 20th April 1959 together with additional protocol of 17th June 1978 (Journal of Laws of 1999, No. 76, item 854, as amended – hereinafter “the European Convention”) and additional Protocol of 8th November 2001 (Journal of Laws of 2004, No. 139, item 1476);

–           Convention on legal aid in criminal cases between Member States of the European Union of 29th May 2000 together with the Protocol of 16th October 2001 drawn up in Luxembourg (Journal of Laws of 2007, No. 135, item 950);

–           Agreement on supplementation and facilitation of the application of the European convention on legal aid in criminal cases of 20th April 1959 (Journal of Laws No. 75, item 662) concluded between Poland and Austria on 2nd June 2003 in Warsaw.

By means of international legal aid all necessary acts of criminal proceedings are being performed, and in particular:

the serving of writs on persons staying abroad;

  • the questioning of persons as the accused, witnesses or experts;
  • carrying out examination of and searching rooms, other places and persons, seizure of objects and delivery of objects abroad;
  • summoning persons staying abroad to personally and voluntarily appear before a court or prosecutor for being heard as a witness or for confrontation as well as taking in for the purpose persons then imprisoned;
  • making available records and documents and information about criminality of the accused;
  • providing information about the law.

As part of international legal aid, only those acts of criminal proceedings are performed which are necessary, i.e. in situations where the act proposed is of high value as evidence and the proceedings cannot be closed without this act being performed.

The legal aid is provided by competent Austrian bodies at the request of the Polish prosecutor’s office. Requests are addressed directly to the bodies who are expected to perform an act as part of legal aid. A request can also be filed through the Ministry of Justice.

While conducting preparatory proceedings those formalities and procedures are applicable that are expressly indicated by the summoning Member State unless otherwise provided for by the Convention and on the condition that such formalities and procedures are not contrary to basic principles of the legal system of the Member State summoned.

More information on cooperation in criminal cases between Poland and Austria you can find in the article published on the UCLP postal “Legal aid in the Polish preparatory proceedings provided by the bodies of the Republic of Austria on the basis of requests for legal aid in the form of the questioning of witnesses. Selected issues.”