Belarus, Poland sign legal aid agreement

Belarus and Poland have signed an agreement on direct communication between courts in providing legal aid. The document was signed by the Justice Ministry, the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Economic Court of Belarus and the Justice Ministry of Poland in Minsk on February 13, BelTA reported.

The document was signed by Deputy Justice Minister Alexander Simonov, First Deputy Presiding Judge of the Supreme Court Alexander Fedortsov, Deputy Presiding Judge of the Supreme Economic Court Aleksei Yegorov, and Deputy Justice Minister of Poland Lukasz Redziniak.

Lukasz Redziniak told media, the agreement decentralises court applications. The agreement had been adjusted within a short time - six months. "It is a very useful agreement for the two countries. For us Belarus is an important neighbour. There are lots of interpersonal contacts and whether we like it or not citizens of the two countries use judicial assistance," he said.

Lukasz Redziniak remarked that the number of court applications increases every year. Most of them are civil action applications and involve everyday matters.

The agreement will also contribute to the development of economic ties between the two countries.

Deputy Justice Minister Alexander Simonov explained, the agreement was developed on the basis of the Belarusian-Polish agreement on legal aid, legal relations in civil, family, labour and criminal law cases. The agreement was signed in Minsk in October 1994. In practice the procedure is lengthy: a Belarusian local court sends an application to a Polish local court, but the request is sent to the Belarusian Justice Ministry first and then to the Polish Justice Ministry.

After the agreement comes into force, such applications will be sent directly to the Polish district court, in which district the application should be executed. The district court will forward the application to the local court, which is supposed to execute the application. Materials relating to the execution of the legal aid request will be sent by the Polish court to the Belarusian court, which sent the application. A similar procedure will be used when Polish courts apply for legal aid of Belarusian courts.

Alexander Simonov also remarked, between 2006 and 2008 the number of mutual court applications doubled.

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