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The Legal Situation of Former Landowners in the Third Polish Republic

The Polish Committee of National Liberation’s Decree on Land Reform of 6 September 1944 was of principally political significance and the adoption thereof, irrespective of changes made to the agrarian structure in existence theretofore in the Polish countryside, served primarily to facilitate the seizure of power in Poland by communists following the conclusion of World War II. The Decree resulted in the elimination of the class of landowners. The fundamental ramifications of the decree are yet to be unequivocally explained, and doubts keep abounding. The case law of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court only deepens the sense of uncertainty. The paper offers a critique of the cases and proposes a novel method of construction of relevant legal norms so that the current legal situation of former landowners or their heirs may be clearly determined.

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The Exclusion of Possibility to Extend the Period for Filing an Appeal in Criminal Proceedings as a Violation of Fair Trial Standards

The paper expounds a handful of problems stemming from the exclusion of a possibility to extend the period for filing an appeal in criminal proceedings in extensive, complex cases. According to the author, such an exclusion violates the standards of a fair trial. This problem is particularly evident in cases where there are several co-defendants who also benefit from the right to defense and where merely a short period of time for filing an appeal binds, or in cases where part of court documents is secret and one may only familiarize oneself with them in discreet conditions. Therefore, the author de lege ferenda proposes the introduction to the Code of Criminal Procedure provisions aimed at resolving the tensions begotten by the situation sketched above.

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Liability Towards the Consumer for Loss of or Damage to Sold Goods during Carriage

The Polish Consumer Act that entered into force on 25 December 2014 amended the Polish Civil Code’s provisions concerning the seller’s liability towards the consumer for loss of or damage to sold goods during carriage thereof. According to the current legal status, the seller who is selling his goods to the consumer and who has an impact on the choice of the carrier is responsible for any loss of or damage to the sold goods during the carriage. Unfortunately, the legislator failed to amend corresponding provisions of the Polish transport law. This leads to a situation in which after the reception of the goods the consumer can direct his claims against both the seller and the carrier, and the seller is not able to lodge any claim against the carrier responsible for the loss or damage. This paper discusses this issue and gives practical guidance for sellers with a view to protecting their rights.

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Freedom of Conscience and Religion in States of Emergency in the Polish Legal System

The aim of this article is to enunciate the legal status of the freedom of conscience and religion of persons and groups under a state of emergency. The paper adopts the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2 April 1997 as the starting point for discussion. On a general note, considerations pertaining to international law and constitutional regulations in a handful of European countries are presented, with emphasis upon provisions concerning states of emergency. The legal status of freedom of conscience and religion belonging to agents in a state of emergency is expounded by reference to the subjective scope of bindingness of those rights and freedoms which are necessary to promote freedom of conscience and religion. Cases are discussed where a person’s action may be classified as a realization of two constitutional right, one of which is non-derogable. The author goes on to suggest a method of resolving such contentions by applying the theory of practical concordance.

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The Guarantees of Free, Pre-Trial Legal Assistance in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland

The paper aims to proffer an analysis of the guarantees of free, pre-trial legal assistance in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. Although the right to a fair trial constitutes one of the fundamental human rights in Poland as well as in international law, its scope does not seem to encompass the right to free legal advice. This issue plays an important role in the context of equal access to legal assistance for the poorest strata of society. Therefore, the regulations of Polish Constitution which could embody, even if indirectly, the right to free legal assistance are presented. The principle of democratic state ruled by law, right to a trial, prohibition of discrimination and selected social and economic rights are analyzed. The Act of 5 August 2015 on free legal assistance and legal education is also a subject of analysis. The law has been in force since 1 January 2016 and has created a national system of legal advice which guarantees access to free legal assistance for the poorest strata of society.