Constitution of the Republic of Poland/Chapter 8

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COURTS AND TRIBUNALS
Article 173 

The courts and tribunals shall constitute a separate power and shall be independent of other branches of power.

Article 174 

The courts and tribunals shall pronounce judgments in the name of the Republic of Poland.

COURTS

Article 175 
  1. The administration of justice in the Republic of Poland shall be implemented by the Supreme Court, the common courts, administrative courts and military courts.
  2. Extraordinary courts or summary procedures may be established only during a time of war.
Article 176 
  1. Court proceedings shall have at least two stages.
  2. The organizational structure and jurisdiction as well as procedure of the courts shall be specified by statute.
Article 177 

The common courts shall implement the administration of justice concerning all matters save for those statutorily reserved to other courts.

Article 178 
  1. Judges, within the exercise of their office, shall be independent and subject only to the Constitution and statutes.
  2. Judges shall be provided with appropriate conditions for work and granted remuneration consistent with the dignity of their office and the scope of their duties.
  3. A judge shall not belong to a political party, a trade union or perform public activities incompatible with the principles of independence of the courts and judges.
Article 179 

Judges shall be appointed for an indefinite period by the President of the Republic on the motion of the National Council of the Judiciary.

Article 180 
  1. Judges shall not be removable.
  2. Recall of a judge from office, suspension from office, transfer to another bench or position against his will, may only occur by virtue of a court judgment and only in those instances prescribed in statute.
  3. A judge may be retired as a result of illness or infirmity which prevents him discharging the duties of his office. The procedure for doing so, as well as for appealing against such decision, shall be specified by statute.
  4. A statute shall establish an age limit beyond which a judge shall proceed to retirement.
  5. Where there has been a reorganization of the court system or changes to the boundaries of court districts, a judge may be allocated to another court or retired with maintenance of his full remuneration.
Article 181 

A judge shall not, without prior consent granted by a court specified by statute, be held criminally responsible nor deprived of liberty. A judge shall be neither detained nor arrested, except for cases when he has been apprehended in the commission of an offence and in which his detention is necessary for securing the proper course of proceedings. The president of the competent local court shall be forthwith notified of any such detention and may order an immediate release of the person detained.

Article 182 

A statute shall specify the scope of participation by the citizenry in the administration of justice.

Article 183 
  1. The Supreme Court shall exercise supervision over common and military courts regarding judgments.
  2. The Supreme Court shall also perform other activities specified in the Constitution and statutes.
  3. The First President of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President of the Republic for a 6-year term of office from amongst candidates proposed by the General Assembly of the Judges of the Supreme Court.
Article 184 

The Supreme Administrative Court and other administrative courts shall exercise, to the extent specified by statute, control over the performance of public administration. Such control shall also extend to judgments on the conformity to statute of resolutions of organs of local government and normative acts of territorial organs of government administration.

Article 185 

The President of the Supreme Administrative Court shall be appointed by the President of the Republic for a 6-year term of office from amongst candidates proposed by the General Assembly of the Judges of the Supreme Administrative Court.

Article 186 
  1. The National Council of the Judiciary shall safeguard the independence of courts and judges.
  2. The National Council of the Judiciary may make application to the Constitutional Tribunal regarding the conformity to the Constitution of normative acts to the extent to which they relate to the independence of courts and judges.
Article 187 
  1. The National Council of the Judiciary shall be composed as follows:
    1. the First President of the Supreme Court, the Minister of Justice, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court and an individual appointed by the President of the Republic;
    2. 15 judges chosen from amongst the judges of the Supreme Court, common courts, administrative courts and military courts;
    3. 4 members chosen by the Sejm from amongst its Deputies and 2 members chosen by the Senate from amongst its Senators.
  2. The National Council of the Judiciary shall choose, from amongst its members, a chairperson and two deputy chairpersons.
  3. The term of office of those chosen as members of the National Council of the Judiciary shall be 4 years.
  4. The organizational structure, the scope of activity and procedures for work of the National Council of the Judiciary, as well as the manner of choosing its members, shall be specified by statute.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL

Article 188 

The Constitutional Tribunal shall adjudicate regarding the following matters:

  1. the conformity of statutes and international agreements to the Constitution;
  2. the conformity of a statute to ratified international agreements whose ratification required prior consent granted by statute;
  3. the conformity of legal provisions issued by central State organs to the Constitution, ratified international agreements and statutes;
  4. the conformity to the Constitution of the purposes or activities of political parties;
  5. complaints concerning constitutional infringements, as specified in Article 79, para. 1.
Article 189 

The Constitutional Tribunal shall settle disputes over authority between central constitutional organs of the State.

Article 190 
  1. Judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal shall be of universally binding application and shall be final.
  2. Judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal regarding matters specified in Article 188, shall be required to be immediately published in the official publication in which the original normative act was promulgated. If a normative act has not been promulgated, then the judgment shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Poland, Monitor Polski.
  3. A judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal shall take effect from the day of its publication, however, the Constitutional Tribunal may specify another date for the end of the binding force of a normative act. Such time period may not exceed 18 months in relation to a statute or 12 months in relation to any other normative act. Where a judgment has financial consequences not provided for in the Budget, the Constitutional Tribunal shall specify date for the end of the binding force of the normative act concerned, after seeking the opinion of the Council of Ministers.
  4. A judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal on the non-conformity to the Constitution, an international agreement or statute, of a normative act on the basis of which a legally effective judgment of a court, a final administrative decision or settlement of other matters was issued, shall be a basis for reopening proceedings, or for quashing the decision or other settlement in a manner and on principles specified in provisions applicable to the given proceedings.
  5. Judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal shall be made by a majority of votes.
Article 191 
  1. The following may make application to the Constitutional Tribunal regarding matters specified in Article 188:
    1. the President of the Republic, the Marshal of the Sejm, the Marshal of the Senate, the Prime Minister, 50 Deputies, 30 Senators, the First President of the Supreme Court, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, the Public Prosecutor-General, the President of the Supreme Chamber of Control and the Commissioner for Citizens' Rights,
    2. the National Council of the Judiciary, to the extent specified in Article 186, para. 2;
    3. the constitutive organs of units of local government;
    4. the national organs of trade unions as well as the national authorities of employers' organizations and occupational organizations;
    5. churches and religious organizations;
    6. the subjects referred to in Article 79 to the extent specified therein.
  2. The subjects referred to in para. 1 subparas. 3–5, above, may make such application if the normative act relates to matters relevant to the scope of their activity.
Article 192 

The following persons may make application to the Constitutional Tribunal in respect of matters specified in Article 189: the President of the Republic, the Marshal of the Sejm, the Marshal of the Senate, the Prime Minister, the First President of the Supreme Court, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court and the President of the Supreme Chamber of Control.

Article 193 

Any court may refer a question of law to the Constitutional Tribunal as to the conformity of a normative act to the Constitution, ratified international agreements or statute, if the answer to such question of law will determine an issue currently before such court.

Article 194 
  1. The Constitutional Tribunal shall be composed of 15 judges chosen individually by the Sejm for a term of office of 9 years from amongst persons distinguished by their knowledge of the law. No person may be chosen for more than one term of office.
  2. The President and Vice-President of the Constitutional Tribunal shall be appointed by the President of the Republic from amongst candidates proposed by the General Assembly of the Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal.
Article 195 
  1. Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal, in the exercise of their office, shall be independent and subject only to the Constitution.
  2. Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal shall be provided with appropriate conditions for work and granted remuneration consistent with the dignity of the office and the scope of their duties.
  3. Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal, during their term of office, shall not belong to a political party, a trade union or perform public activities incompatible with the principles of the independence of the courts and judges.
Article 196 

A judge of the Constitutional Tribunal shall not be held criminally responsible or deprived of liberty without prior consent granted by the Constitutional Tribunal. A judge shall be neither detained nor arrested, except for cases when he has been apprehended in the commission of an offence and in which his detention is necessary for securing the proper course of proceedings. The President of the Constitutional Tribunal shall be notified forthwith of any such detention and may order an immediate release of the person detained.

Article 197 

The organization of the Constitutional Tribunal, as well as the mode of proceedings before it, shall be specified by statute.

THE TRIBUNAL OF STATE

Article 198 
  1. For violations of the Constitution or of a statute committed by them within their office or within its scope, the following persons shall be constitutionally accountable to the Tribunal of State: the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and members of the Council of Ministers, the President of the National Bank of Poland, the President of the Supreme Chamber of Control, members of the National Council of Radio Broadcasting and Television, persons to whom the Prime Minister has granted powers of management over a ministry, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
  2. Deputies and Senators shall also be constitutionally accountable to the Tribunal of State to extent specified in Article 107.
  3. The types of punishment which the Tribunal of State may impose shall be specified by statute.
Article 199 
  1. The Tribunal of State shall be composed of a chairperson, two deputy chairpersons and 16 members chosen by the Sejm for the current term of office of the Sejm from amongst those who are not Deputies or Senators. The deputy chairpersons of the Tribunal and at least one half of the members of the Tribunal shall possess the qualifications required to hold the office of judge.
  2. The First President of the Supreme Court shall be chairperson of the Tribunal of State.
  3. The members of the Tribunal of State, within the exercise of their office as judges of the Tribunal, shall be independent and subject only to the Constitution and statutes.
Article 200 

A member of the Tribunal of State shall not be held criminally responsible nor deprived of liberty without prior consent granted by the Tribunal of State. A member of the Tribunal of State shall be neither detained nor arrested, except for cases when he has been apprehended in the commission of an offence and in which his detention is necessary for securing the proper course of proceedings. The chairperson of the Tribunal of State shall be notified forthwith of any such detention and may order an immediate release of the person detained.

Article 201 

The organization of the Tribunal of State, as well as the mode of proceedings before it, shall be specified by statute.