Defendants (criminal proceedings)

République tchèque

This factsheet tells you in what circumstances you are entitled to be represented by a lawyer, how to find a lawyer, and how the costs of the lawyer will be met if you cannot afford to pay. It will also tell you what a lawyer will do for you.

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République tchèque

Finding a lawyer

Only a lawyer entered in the register of lawyers maintained by the Czech Bar Association (CBA) may defend a person in a criminal case.

If you need a defence lawyer contact the Czech Bar Association ( contact one of the lawyers on the register directly).

What if I do not choose a lawyer?

If you do not choose a lawyer you must defend yourself.

In some cases, you are obliged to have a defence lawyer and the court will appoint a defence lawyer for you if you do not choose one within a specified time limit. The following are situations in which a defence lawyer is required:

  • if you are in custody or under observation in a medical facility,
  • if your competence to perform legal acts is restricted,
  • if you are a fugitive,
  • if you are under 18),
  • if you are physically or mentally handicapped and there is doubt about your competence to defend yourself properly,
  • if you could be sentenced to more than 5 years in prison,
  • if simplified proceedings are to be initiated against you as the detained person,
  • in proceedings where you might be required to undergo preventive medical treatment  (apart from treatment for alcoholism),
  • in some proceedings with a foreign element.  .

Who pays the lawyer?

It is the accused person who pays for the lawyer’s services. If the court appoints a lawyer for you, the state pays for the defence. The state also pays if you are entitled to a free defence.

How much is the lawyer’s fee?

Payments for the services of a defence lawyer are specified by a contract between you and your defence lawyer or by the Act on Lawyers’ Fees (if you don’t have a contract).

When are you entitled to a free defence?

If you do not have enough money to pay the costs of your defence, you are entitled to a reduced fee or to a free defence (both referred to as 'free defence'). A judge, or the chairman of the court will decide your application, based on information about your financial situation. This application must be submitted by you during the preparatory process through the public prosecutor or during the court proceedings.

You may be awarded a free defence even without such an application if the evidence suggests that it is appropriate.

Related links

Act on Lawyers’ Fees

Last update: 16/09/2020

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