Polish legal system - twenty years after the collapse of communism

Polish legal system
- twenty years after the collapse
of communism
Karol Dobrzeniecki, PhD
Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun
Communist states in 1989
Socialist law – features:
- the ruling Communist party was considered
above the legal system
- high degree of collectivization and
nationalization of property
- extensive control of the party over private life
- declared extensive social warrants of the state in
return for a high degree of social mobilization
and a low degree of civil and political rights
Dual nature of the reform
of law after 1989:
-internel factors– political, economic,
-external - implementation of new
foreign policy objectives
Transformation of the political and
economic system in 1989
Transfer from the authoritarian and socialist
to the democratic system based on market
economy required fundamental changes of
the system of law. At the turn of the ‘80s
and ‘90s the political and economic shape
of the state changed, which involved
corresponding changes in the entire legal
system, the constitutional, civil,
administrative, labour etc. law in particular.
'Europeanisation' of the
Polish legal system
- the reception of legal concepts from
the other domestic legal systems
-the impact of international
organisations together with the results
of their legal activism
-the influence of European Union law
Reestablishing local selfgovernment 1990 - 1999
• Local self-government shall
perform public tasks not
reserved to other public
• Units of local self-government
shall possess legal personality.
• The self-governing nature of
units of local self-government
shall be protected by the courts.
• Units of local self-government
shall be assured public funds
adequate for the performance of
the duties assigned to them.
• Units of local self-government
shall have the right to associate.
Polish legal system – general
- civil law system
- a new Constitution anected by the
Parliament on April 2, 1997 : „ The
Republic of Poland is a democratic state of
law in which the principles of social justice
are followed”
- separation of powers
Administration of justice
Supreme Court, Warsaw
The highest judiciary power in Poland is Supreme Court.
There exist common courts of law, the administrative
courts and the military ones. Besides them there is a
court appointed to examine laws for their compliance
with the Constitution – the Constitutional Tribunal.
Polish ombudsman
Janusz Kochanowski
A body responsible for the
protection of civil rights and
liberties. He hears the
complaints from the individuals
and may take up steps to
annul the breaches, has a right
of initiative to eliminate the
contradictions between the
legal acts, sends conclusions
to relevant organs in order to
exercise their right of
legislative initiative, influences
the directions of interpretation
of the law concerning civil right
and liberties.