The standards of the Polish legal clinics' activity

  1. Legal clinic provides reliability of provided services.
    1. At least once a week (according to the academic calendar) seminars are held to discuss cases being currently worked on by the clinic or its organizational units.
    2. The clinic does not allow its students or supervisors to be overburden by the number of cases in a way which could threaten the quality of the clinical service. The director of the clinic sets a maximum number of cases to be taken by one student at a time.
    3. The clinic provides its students with a training regarding ethics of the legal profession, client interview and legal writing.
  1. Legal clinic assures the supervision of faculty members over the students.
    1. Director of the clinic, who is an independent faculty member, manages the clinic’s administrative activity. His supervision concerns the general merits of the clinical service.
    2. Director may appoint other faculty members, candidate doctors or students as well as advocates or legal advisers to take over some of the supervisory actions.
    3. Director of the clinic or persons appointed by him according to 2B, may also use the assistance of other persons. The assistance however may be only of a technical and organizational nature.
    4. Legal clinic cooperates with an advocate or legal advisor by allowing them to supervise the students or provide opportunity of consultations.
    5. One person may not directly supervise more than 16 students.
    6. During one academic year student takes at least 2 cases where he/she provides legal advice to the clients.
  1. Legal advice provided by the clinic is free of charge.
  1. Legal clinic assures the necessary confidentiality of its services.

During seminar meetings names of the clients remain confidential, unless their relevance is indispensable.

  1. Legal clinic assures the protection of the documents submitted by the clients; legal clinic does not accept original versions of the documents.

Case documentation is stored in a safe place accessible only to the director and persons appointed by him.

  1. Legal clinic establishes secretary office according to the scope and characteristics of its activity.
    1. Legal clinics runs its office according to the best of its financial ability; however:
      • there is a place where clients can obtain all information concerning their cases; clinical office works at least one hour every weekday. If it is not possible, it has regular work hours, not less than one hour twice a week. During the “off school” periods, office hours are assured at least once a week, not less than one hour. Legal clinic notifies its clients about its working hours,
      • there is at least one person permanently responsible for the overall administration of the clinic.
  1.  Before accepting the case, legal clinic informs the client in written about the rules of the clinical services, in particular stating that:
  • student is a person taking the case,
  • student and the legal clinic’s worker can not refuse to give evidence or answer a question of the court, prosecutor or any other authorized organ,
  • legal clinic does not take cases in which an advocate or legal advisor already participates,
  • the client has a right to turn any comments on the given legal advice to the Board of the Legal Clinics Foundation,
  • legal advice is given in written only,
  • legal clinic service is offered only for those whose financial situation does not allow to afford the payable legal advice.
    1. Before accepting the case, legal clinic provides the client with the above information in written and receives a statement signed by the client confirming that the client has accepted the information.
    2. Legal clinics provides the client with the proper documentation containing the above information.
    3. The information form contains present address, e-mail address and fax number of the Legal Clinics Foundation.
    4. Legal clinics does not provide any oral advice, even in emergency or trivial cases.
    5. Students may represent their clients in court or other authorized organ as their representatives or curators as long as it is in accordance with legal regulations.
    6. Points A-C do not apply, if whereabouts of the client are unknown and students serves as his/her curator appointed by the court.
  1. Legal clinic carries out a qualifying procedure regarding their clients which is to assure that the client can not afford payable legal advice; in case of circumstances showing that the client can afford such service offered by an advocate or legal advisor, legal clinic immediately resigns the case.
    1. Before accepting the case, the client submits the statement that his/her financial situation does not allow to afford the payable legal advice.
    2. In case of any doubts as of the reliability of the client’s statement, legal clinic asks for additional explanation and possible documentation. If the client refuses to do so, legal clinic resigns the case.
    3. While examining the client’s financial situation, legal clinic includes not only  the value but also the liquidity of the client’s assets. It is permissible to provide legal advice to a person whose assets are not liquid even if their value is substantial. Lack of liquidity occurs upon at least one of the following prerequisites:
        • disposal of the client’s property items would cause essential existential difficulties for him/her or closely related persons (i.e. client’s apartment; items necessary for work);
        • legal advice is needed immediately and the client proves that it is not possible to dispose the item other time and the client does not own any other property items.  
  2. Legal clinic sets, according to the proper rules of law, information system about the clients which is to guarantee minimal risk of the conflict of interests
    1. Legal clinic runs the record of its hitherto and present clients.
    2. Before providing the advice, legal clinic determines whether the conflict of interests occurs in the case. If there is a risk of such conflict legal clinic does not accept the case. If the clinic still runs the case of the other party of the conflict, it resigns it as well. In exceptional cases legal clinic may not resign formally accepted case if one of the following prerequisites occurs:
        • Legal clinic has not obtained any essential information  about the case from the other party of the conflict;
        • The other party of the conflict has contacted the clinic in order to cause the conflict.
    3. Legal clinic does not take the cases in which the conflict of interests between the client and following institutions may occur:
        • the higher education institution (HEI) at which the clinic exists,
        • member of the clinic’s staff or student of the clinic,
        • employee of the law faculty of the HEI at which the clinic exists. 
  3. Legal clinic is obligated to conclude an insurance contract on the liability for damages, the guarantee amount can not be lower than 10.000 EURO.
    1. The insurance contract is concluded by the higher education institution (HEI) as an insurer.
    2. The HEI, students and the clinic’s staff are insured.
    3. Before accepting the case legal clinic receives form the client a written statement confirming that the client agrees to exclude the liability for damages unless the damage was caused by intentional guilt.
    4. The given guarantee amount concerns the liability for damage in every individual case.
  1. By July 31 of each year, the clinic submits to the Legal Clinics Foundation information on clinical activity including:
        • information on the number and type of conducted cases,
        • information on the number of students and supervisors,
        • information on additional successes and achievements of the clinic.
  2. Standards 1A, 1C, 7A – C, 9 A are of temporary nature until November 1st 2003 according to the § 24, p. 4 of the Foundation’s Statute.