Dissents in Criminal Procedure
The paper discusses dissenting opinions in criminal procedure. It starts by pointing
out that inevitably all judicial systems have to deal with voting in decisionmaking
by courts composed of multiple judges. Two model solutions are feasible
here: either adopting a system based on an absolute unanimity (which generally
would always require a retrial in case the court splits on any issue) or a system
that accepts natural divisions among judges that sit on the bench and hear
and decide criminal cases together and therefore rests on a majority principle.
A dissent is a vote cast by any judge sitting on the bench against the majority
votes on any issue being decided by the court, be it legal or factual. However, in
practice (both in procedural provisions and in legal writing) only those dissenting
votes (opinions) that can be or are made public are referred to as dissents. The
paper proceeds on to analyze the various legal functions of such dissenting votes
(opinions) in criminal procedure. It then presents a detailed and critical historical
overview of various regulations of a dissenting vote or opinion adopted by the
legislator in Poland over a period of eighty years, beginning with the first Polish
Code of Criminal Procedure (1928) up to the present Code of Criminal Procedure
of 1997. It closes with a proposal of possible amendments to the regulations
being currently in force.

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