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Ministry of Justice
Al. Ujazdowskie 11
phone: (22) 52 12 888
Central Board of Prison Service
National Prosecution Service
Chief Military Prosecutor's Office
Prof. Dr. Jan Sehn Institute of Forensic Research in Cracow
The Institute of Justice
The National Training Centre for the Officials of the Common Courts of Law and the Public Prosecutor's Office
President of the Republic of Poland
The Chancellery of the Prime Minister
Europa Sejm of the Republic of Poland
The Senate of the Republic of Poland
Polish Constitutional Tribunal
Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland
The judiciary in Poland
The Constitutional principles of organization and functioning of the judiciary in Poland cover the legal and organizational status of court authorities, proceedings before courts and the legal status of the judge.
Art. 173 of the Polish Constitution of 2 April 1997 provides for dualism of the judiciary authority. It is composed of courts and tribunals. Courts encompass:
- the Supreme Court
- common courts
- administrative courts, including the Supreme Administrative Court
- military courts.
As regards tribunals, the Constitution lists the Constitutional Tribunal and the Tribunal of the State.
The legal and organizational basis for the functioning of common courts is constituted by, for instance: Art. 175 section 1 and Art. 177 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and the Law of 27 July 2001 - the Law on the System of Common Courts (Journal of Laws No. 98, item 1070, as amended).
Common courts administer justice in all matters, with an exception of matters which are reserved, by law, to the competence of other courts.
Common courts and established and closed by the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice also establishes their seats and the area of their jurisdiction, upon the obtaining of an opinion from the National Judiciary Council. Proceedings before Polish courts take place in two instances. Common courts are divided into:
- Regional courts (established for one or more communes, and, in justified cases, more than one regional court may be established for a single commune)
- District courts (established for the area of jurisdiction of at least two regional courts)
- Appeal courts (established for the area of jurisdiction of at least two district courts).
Currently, there are 376 common courts in Poland – 11 appeal courts, 45 district courts and 321 regional courts.
Judges of common courts are appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland at the motion of the National Judiciary Council for an unspecified period of time. Judges in Poland are independent, they are governed solely by the Constitutions and Laws. They hold an immunity and may not be dismissed from their jobs, which means that the employment relationship is dissolved by force of law when a judge resigns.
The Minister of Justice exercises only administrative supervision of common courts. This supervision covers issues connected with financial and administrative activity of courts, as well as any other issues concerning efficient consideration of cases and proper execution of judgements. This means that the supervisory power of the Minister of Justice may not interfere with independence of judges, i.e. the wording of judgements and decisions, whose correctness may be examined only according to the procedure stipulated by law.
The National Judiciary Council is a constitutional collegiate body guarding the independence of courts and of judges. The present system, scope of operation and procedure of work of the Council are specified by the Constitution and the Law of 27 July 2001 on the National Judiciary Council (Journal of Laws of 2001 No. 100, item 1082, as amended).
The most important tasks of the Council include:
- providing an opinion regarding normative acts concerning the judiciary and judges, as well as adoption of resolutions concerning matters referred to the Constitutional Tribunal for an examination of their consistency with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland with regard to independence of courts and judges,
- consideration and evaluation of candidates to serve offices of judges and submission to the President of the Republic of Poland of motions for appointment of judges of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, common courts, provincial administrative courts and military courts,
- adoption of a catalogue of professional ethical rules of judges and monitoring of their observation.
The Council if composed of 25 members. Similarly to the majority of other European states, the composition of the Polish National Judiciary Council is mixed, but judges form a majority of its members.
The Council is composed of: the First President of the Supreme Court, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, a person appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland, the Minister of Justice, four MPs, two senators, ten judges representing common courts, two judges of the Supreme Court, two judges of administrative courts and a judge of a military court.