BazEkon - The Main Library of the Cracow University of Economics

BazEkon home page

Main menu

Kustra-Rogatka Aleksandra (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń)
The Polish Constitutional Court and Political "Refolution" after 1989: Between the Continuity and Discontinuity of the Constitutional Narrative
Wroclaw Review of Law, Administration & Economics, 2016, vol. 6, nr 2, s. 62-93, bibliogr. 52 poz.
Sądownictwo, Kontrola, Orzecznictwo Trybunału Konstytucyjnego, Trybunał Konstytucyjny
Judicature, Control, Judgement of Constitutional Tribunal, Constitutional Court
The paper considers the issue of constitutional justice during political transition in Poland. The author states that regardless of the stage of the political transition, both the constitution-creators and the constitutional judiciary tend to distance themselves from the past. However, the absolute discontinuity of constitutional narration is impossible, since the remaining old constitutional environment affects the constitutional court's jurisdiction, both in its merits and effects. In Poland the basic aspect of piecemeal constitutional continuity followed from the fact that principle of the democratic state ruled by law was introduced into the constitutional system as an amendment to the Constitution of 1952. On the levels of both constitutional and statutory law such continuity was also guaranteed (at least to some extent) by legal provisions regulating the Constitutional Tribunal's competences and the effects of the Constitutional Tribunal's judicial decisions (e.g. the Sejm's right to overrule them). Yet, even after the entry into force of the new Constitution of 1997, the narrative of constitutional discontinuity did not (and could not) prevail in Poland. The new democratic State has had to cope with many salient post-transition constitutional issues that demanded taking into account the temporality of justice and thus - sometimes - giving priority to aspects of legal continuity. Some of them regarded so called "legal survivals" of the old regime, others were linked to the idea of transitional justice. Judicial decisions of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal presented in this paper demonstrate the "refolutional" character of most political transitions.(original abstract)
Full text
  1. Ash T.G., The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague (Vintage Books 1993).
  2. Banaszak B., Aktywizm orzeczniczy polskiego Trybunału Konstytucyjnego in B. Banaszak, M. Bernadczyk (eds) Aktywizm sędziowski we współczesnym państwie demokratycznym (Warszawa 2012).
  3. Brzezinski M., 'Constitutional 'Refolution' in the Ex-Communist World: The Rule of Law (1997) 12 American University International Law Review 90.
  4. Brzezinski M.F., Garlicki L., Judicial Review in Post-Communist Poland: The Emergence of a Rechtsstaat? (1995) 16 "Stanford Journal of International Law" 13.
  5. Cholewiński R., 'The protection of Human Rights in the new Polish constitution' (1998) 22.2 "Fordham International Law Journal" 283.
  6. Czarnota A., Foreword (2001) 29 "East Central Europe" (part 1) V.
  7. Czarnota A., 'Guardians of the Constitution or legislative Bodies?' (2001) 28 "East Central Europe" (part 1) 147-152.
  8. Czarnota A., Lustration, Decommunisation and the Rule of Law (2009) 1.2 "Hague Journal on the Rule of Law" 307.
  9. Czarnota A., Transitional Justice, The Post-Communist Post-Police State and the Losers and Winners. An Overview of the Problem (2009) 1 "Silesian Journal of Legal Studies" 13.
  10. Czarnota A., DuBois F., The Transitional Rule of Law (1999) 24.1 "Alternative Law Journal" 11.
  11. Dębska H., Legal Doxa as a Form of Neutralization of Values in the Law. The Case of Polish Constitutional Tribunal in K. Pałecki (ed) Neutralization of Values in Law (Wolters Kluwer 2013).
  12. Dębska H., Władza. Symbol. Prawo. Społeczne tworzenie Trybunału Konstytucyjnego (Wydawnictwo Sejmowe 2015).
  13. Dębska H., Warczok T., Sacred Law and Profane Politics. The Symbolic Construction of Constitutional Tribunal (2014) 4(188) "Polish Sociological Review" 469.
  14. Dyzenhaus D., Judicial Independence, Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law (2003) 10 "Otago Law Review" 348.
  15. Florczak-Wątor F., Względny czy bezwzględny obowiązek stosowania niekonstytucyjnej normy prawnej w okresie odroczenia? in M. Bernatt, J. Królikowski, M. Ziółkowski (eds) Skutki wyroków Trybunału Konstytucyjnego w sferze stosowania prawa (Warszawa 2013).
  16. Florczak-Wątor M., Skutki prawne odroczenia przez Trybunał Konstytucyjny utraty mocy obowiązującej aktu normatywnego (2003) 2 "Przegląd Sejmowy" 45.
  17. Frankowski S., Bodnar A. (eds), Introduction to Polish Law (Hague, Kraków 2005).
  18. Frankowski S., Stephan III PB (eds), Legal Reform in Post-communist Europe. The View from Within (Kluwer 1995).
  19. Garlicki L., The Necessity and Functions of the Constitution paper given at the Symposium on the "European Constitutional Area" held at the Swiss Institute for the Comparative Law, Lusanne, Switzerland, 9-12 April 1995.
  20. Garlicki L., Masternak-Kubiak M. Wójtowicz K. Poland' in David Sloss (ed), The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement: A Comparative Study (Cambridge University Press 2009) 371.
  21. Gray D., An Excuse-centered Approach to Transitional Justice (2006) 74 "Fordham Law Review" 1061.
  22. de Greiff P., International Courts and Transitions to Democracy (1998) 12.1 "Public Affairs Quarterly" 74.
  23. Herspring D., Refolution in eastern Europe: The Polish, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian militaries' (1994) 3.4 "European Security" 664.
  24. Kalus S., Habdas M., Family Law in Poland (Wolters Kluwer 2011).
  25. Krygier M., Czarnota A., After Communism: The Next Phase (2006) 2 "Annual Review of Law and Social Science" 299.
  26. Labedz L., Poland Under Jaruzelski: A Comprehensive Sourcebook on Poland During and After Martial Law (Scribner 1984).
  27. Mańko R., Demons of the Past? Legal Survivals of the Socialist Legal Tradition in Contemporary Polish Private Law in C. S. Cercel, R. Mańko, A. Sulikowski (eds) Law and Critique in Central Europe: Questioning Past, Resisting Present (Countepress 2016).
  28. Mańko R., Is the Socialist Legal Tradition "'Dead and Buried?" The Continuity of the Certain Elements of Socialist Legal Culture in Polish Civil Procedure in T. Wilhelmsson, E. Paunio, A. Pohjolainen (eds), Private Law and the Many Cultures of Europe (Kluwer Law International 2007).
  29. Mańko R., Survival of the Socialist Legal Tradition? A Polish Perspective (2013) 4.3 "Comparative Law Review" 1.
  30. Mańko R., Weeds in the Gardens of Justice? The Survival of Hyperpositivism in Polish Legal Culture as a Symptom/Sinthome' (2013) 7.2 "Pólemos - Journal of Law, Literature and Culture" 207.
  31. Masternak-Kubiak M., Umowa międzynarodowa w prawie konstytucyjnym (Warszawa 1997).
  32. Morawski L., Spór o pojęcie państwa prawnego (1995) 8 "Państwo i Prawo".
  33. Paczkowski A, Byrne A (eds), From Solidarity to Martial Law: The Polish Crisis of 1980-198: A Documentary History (Central European University Press, Budapest 2007).
  34. Pałecki K., O aksjologicznych zmianach w prawie in L. Leszczyński (ed), Zmiany społeczne a zmiana w prawie. Aksjologia, Konstytucja, Integracja Europejska (Lublin 1999).
  35. Pałecki K., Zmiany w aksjologicznych podstawach prawa jako wskaźnik jego tranzycji in K. Pałecki (ed) Dynamika wartości w prawie (Kraków 1997).
  36. Přibáň J., Legal Symbolism: On Law, Time and European Identity (Ashgate 2007).
  37. Rosenfeld M., The Rule of Law and the legitimacy of Constitutional Democracy 74 "Southern California Law Review" 1307.
  38. Sadurski W., Decommunisation, Lustration, and Constitutional Continuity: Dilemmas of Transitional Justice in Central Europe' in: Central and Eastern Europe After Transition: Towards a New Socio-legal Semantics, W. Sadurski, A. Febbrajo (eds).
  39. Sadurski W., Rights before the Courts. A Study of Constitutional Courts in Post-communist States of Central and Eastern Europe (Springer 2005) 253.
  40. Sadurski W., The Study of Constitutional Courts in Post-communist States of Central and Eastern Europe (Dortrecht, Springer 2005).
  41. Safjan M., Transitional Justice: The Polish Example, The Case of Lustration (2007) 1 "European Journal of Legal Studies" 2. Available online: (visited 22 February 2018).
  42. Sanford G., Military Rule in Poland: The Rebuilding of Communist Power, 1981-1983 (Palgrave Macmillan 1986).
  43. Sarnecki P., Ustrój polityczny Polski po wejściu w życie ustawy konstytucyjnej z 7 kwietnia 1989 r., (2009) 3(92) "Przegląd Sejmowy" 17.
  44. Schmitt C., Theory of Constitution-making Power (Duke University Press 2008) 144.
  45. Şen I.G., Sovereignty Referendums in International and Constitutional Law (Springer 2015).
  46. Sulikowski A., Government of Judges and Neoliberal Ideology: The Polish Case in C. S. Cercel, R. Mańko, A. Sulikowski (eds) Law and Critique in Central Europe: Questioning Past, Resisting Present (Countepress 2016).
  47. Teilel R., The Law and Politics of Contemporary Transitional Justice (2005) 38 "Cornell International Law Journal" 838.
  48. Teitel T., Transitional Jurisprudence. The Role of Law in Political Transformation, 2009 (1996-1997) 106 "The Yale Law Journal" 80.
  49. Teitel T., Transitional Justice (Oxford University Press, New York 2000).
  50. Uitz R., Constitutions, Courts and History. Historical Narratives in Constitutional Adjudication (Central European University Press 2005).
  51. Visegrády I., "Transition to Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe: Experiences of a model country - Hungary" 1.2 "William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal" 245.
  52. Zubik R., Polish Constitutionalism and the Constitutional Judiciary in Poland V.6 "Hungarian Review" 3 (
Cited by
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Wyślij znajomemu