Organisation of justice – judicial systems
Chapter VIII of the Polish Constitution deals with courts and tribunals and lists the authorities vested in the administration of justice in Poland, namely:
- Supreme Court (Sąd Najwyższy)
- Common courts (sądy powszechne)
- Administrative courts (sądy administracyjne)
- Military courts (sądy wojskowe).
Administration of courts
Types of courts – short description
The system of common courts includes the appellate (sądy apelacyjne), provincial (sądy okręgowe) and district courts (sądy rejonowe). These courts decide, among other things, cases concerning criminal, civil, family and juvenile law, commercial law, labour and social security laws – except for cases vested in other special courts (e.g. military). Common courts also keep land and mortgage registers as well as the pledge register, National Court Register, and National Criminal Register.
The system of administrative courts includes the High Administrative Court (Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny) and regional administrative courts – one per voivodeship or region (wojewódzkie sądy administracyjne).
The Supreme Court (Sąd Najwyższy) is the highest judicial authority in Poland. It exercises judicial supervision over the decisions of all other courts, ensuring consistency in the interpretation of laws and judicial practice. The Supreme Court is not a common court.
In the Polish law system, the Constitutional Tribunal (Trybunał Konstytucyjny) is not considered a common court. The Constitutional Tribunal adjudicates:
- On the constitutionality of national legislation and international agreements
- On the compliance of national legislation with international agreements, whose ratification is required prior to approval by Parliament
- On compliance with the Constitution of legal regulations issued by central state authorities, ratified international agreements and legislative Acts
- On the constitutionality of the objectives or activities of political parties
- On constitutional complaints.
The Tribunal of State (Trybunał Stanu) adjudicates cases in which persons who occupy (or have occupied) the highest positions of state are charged with violation of the Constitution or other legislative Acts.
Hierarchy of courts
- District courts (sądy rejonowe) – generally first instance
- Provincial (sądy okręgowe) – appeal or first instance in certain cases
- Appellate (sądy apelacyjne) – appeal
- The Supreme Court – the highest judicial authority.
You can find links to information about all common courts, their websites and contact details (addresses, phone numbers, e-mails etc.) on the website of the Polish Ministry of Justice (information on courts).
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