Evaluation of the use of pre-trial detention in Poland by advocates

In March this year The Supreme Bar Council published a report on the evaluation of the regulations and standards for the use of pre-trial detention in Poland by advocates and trainee advocates. Defenders, who are often in a position to observe the application of the regulations and the widespread practice, are critical of both the statutory regulations themselves and their application.

Assessment of the legal situation

The report is based on a survey of advocates and trainee advocates. Evaluating the provisions regulating the institution of pre-trial detention, the vast majority of advocates participating in the survey indicated that the legal state of affairs is not satisfactory. According to practising advocates, the current provisions on preventive measures are not properly formulated. The most criticism falls on the premise of the severity of the threatened punishment, the grounds for extending the use of pre-trial detention and the time limits for its use.

Evaluation of standards for pretrial detention

Separate from the legislation itself, the practice of applying the most severe preventive measure was assessed. According to more than 3/4 of the survey participants, the standards for the use of pre-trial detention in Poland are unsatisfactory. Among the reasons for the problems, misinterpretation and practice of the application of the provisions, established customs and political and systemic conditions were most frequently indicated.

The most frequently reported irregularities that occur in practice were:

  • interference with the ability to perform the duties of a defence counsel (e.g. access to files, contact with the client)
  • the use of pre-trial detention to extract confessions and incriminating statements
  • lack of possibility to examine the evidence in the time allowed.


As can be seen from the report discussed above, advocates as defenders negatively assess both the provisions themselves regulating the institution of pre-trial detention and the practice of their application. From the perspective of practitioners, the need for urgent changes, including legislative ones, is perceptible. It remains to be hoped that this need will also be recognised by the legislator.


The full version of the article is available in Polish here.

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(Un)justification of the application of pre-trial detention in a situation of severe punishment

dowód areszt

Evidence of a co-suspect’s slander as evidence for his pre-trial detention


Automation of the actions of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in relation to applications for the extension of pre-trial detention and the occurrence of “special circumstances of the case” preventing the completion of the proceedings on time.