Retroactive Jurisprudence. An Overview of the Problems (in the Light of Selected Examples)

The concept of the retroactive application of case-law is ambiguous. This may relate to a change in the interpretation of a given provision and classifying previous facts based on the new interpretation or the application of provisions that the legislator itself has made retroactive. It happens that courts apply a certain provision retroactively, despite the fact that the legislature did not give it a retroactive nature, or apply, as a basis for a resolution, a provision different from the one that is actually retroactively applied. In the paper, the lawful and unlawful retroactive application of law was distinguished. The retroactive application of law is lawful when it is based on a provision which has been made retroactive by the legislature. The conceptual analyses presented selected adjudicatory practices of a retroactive nature. It was considered that the retroactive application of law was unlawful. It pursued social objectives that were only seemingly worthy of approval, thus, undermining trust in the codified law and entities that apply that law, and causing a whole range of other, strongly unfavourable and difficult to foresee consequences.

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