Polish Academy of Sciences

Posts by authors affiliated with Polish Academy of Sciences

13 October 2023
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The Distorted Body

Ensuring the integrity of elections is a foundational concern for any democratic state. Yet, it faces a grave challenge in Poland, emanating from the Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs of the Supreme Court. Created in 2018 following controversial changes to the national judicial system and tasked with reviewing the validity of parliamentary elections, the Chamber fails to meet the essential criteria of an independent court. Confirmed by rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court itself, the Chamber’s flawed origin and staffing, dependent on political influence and in departure from established rules of law, undermines its capacity to authenticate the fairness and legitimacy of elections. This echoes beyond Poland’s borders as well, since the Chamber’s defective status fails to meet European standards of effective judicial protection, thus raising concerns in the context of European integration. This blog delves into the Chamber’s position, examines its role in validating electoral process and its impact on the democratic legitimacy of Poland’s Parliament.

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28 August 2023

The New Russian School

The beginning of the new school year in many countries of the former Soviet Union, including in Russia, is celebrated on September 1st and is known as “Knowledge Day”. This year, September 1st will be unique as the new educational amendments enter into force in Russia and Russia-controlled territories. These amendments introduce controversial changes to the educational process, which raise serious concerns about children’s rights and freedoms. These changes include new unified textbooks on history, the legalisation of children’s forced labour, and the continuation of “Conversations about the important” lessons with an enhanced militaristic element.

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25 April 2023

Education as Indoctrination: Mnemonic Constitutionalism and History Teaching in Russia

In January 2023, Russia adopted new amendments to the Law "On Education in the Russian Federation" which will become effective by September 1st, 2023. The amendments establish mandatory, federal curricula for the following school subjects: "Russian language", "Literary reading", "The world around", "Russian language", "Literature", "History", "Social science", "Geography" and "Basics of life safety". The content of the curricula was developed and pre-approved by the Ministry of Education in November 2022, and aims to establish a single, uniform standard of teaching for these subjects. The amendments are emblematic of Russia’s increasingly aggressive pursuit of mnemonic constitutionalism. This article will detail how its legislative governance of memory in the context of history teaching violates the right to education enshrined in international human rights law.

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14 March 2023

Drive to Survive

On 9 March 2022, the Council of the EU included Nikita Mazepin, the Russian Formula 1 driver competing in the 2021 season, on the list of sanctioned people. Almost one year later, on 1 March 2023, this measure was suspended by the Order of the President of the General Court as an interim measure in the appellation proceedings against the Council decision initiated by Mazepin. In this blog post, I argue that the President of the General Court made a mistake in the factual assessment of the position of Nikita and took a too lenient approach to his request.

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27 September 2022

Defending the Judiciary

The strategies of judicial resistance employed by the Polish judiciary after 2015 are diverse and complementary. They respond to changing and intensifying the pressure of political power on the judiciary. They are a consequence of the judgments of the CJEU and the ECHR concerning the administration of justice in Poland.

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26 April 2022

Keeping the Past and the Present Apart

The mere fact that a judge was appointed for the first time under undemocratic conditions does not automatically determine that the court in which that judge adjudicates lacks the necessary independence under EU law. The CJEU has answered to this effect a question of Mr. Kamil Zaradkiewicz, appointed to Poland's Supreme Court in 2018 on recommendation of the new government-controlled National Council of Judiciary and thus lacking independence himself. Importantly, the CJEU emphasized that the referring court did not submit any evidence that may rise legitimate and serious doubts, in the minds of individuals, over independence and impartiality of the particular judge. With this decision, the Court refused to be drawn into the inner-Polish dispute about decommunization, and reinforced its jurisprudence on judicial independence standards in the EU.

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04 March 2022

The Rule of Law in a Time of Emotions

The aggression against Ukraine is brazen, ruthless and shameless. Images of women and children at border crossings, shelters and subway stations filled with civilians evoke very strong emotions, almost crowding out everything else. And yet the ongoing aggression is defined by another adjective: "lawless". There is a link between lawlessness and violence, between brutality and disrespect for the law as such. This is why, even in times like these, we must continue talk about the Polish rule of law crisis if Poland wants to be a credible international actor. 

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29 November 2021

The Honest (though Embarrassing) Coming-out of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal

The particular coming-out of the Tribunal, made in the judgment K 6/21 by admitting that the Constitutional Tribunal is not subject in general to the standards inherent in Article 6 EC, leads to the conclusion that the Polish Constitutional Tribunal and its judges need not be independent. Paradoxically, therefore, the judgment confirms (albeit by different reasoning) the disqualification of the Tribunal made in the Xero Flor judgment by ECtHR. And yet the Tribunal intended to remove the negative consequences for itself of the Xero Flor. 

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19 November 2021

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

The natural reaction of lawyers to even the most complex legal challenges is the readiness to submit realistic, lawful proposals for solutions. In the case of the Polish-Belarusian border  crisis however, lawyers being ignored, deprived of access to their clients (who have managed to hand over the powers of attorney certificates) or even intimidated, experience different feelings as well, those of helplessness and dread. Almost every element of the Polish government's actions towards the crisis on the border is frightening. At the same time, it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the situation of the dehumanized, compelled migrants who were drawn into this conflict not entirely of their own free will.

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24 June 2021

Is UEFA on “the Other Side of the Rainbow”?

UEFA's stance on the rainbow flag has generated attention around the world. The disciplinary proceedings against Manuel Neuer by UEFA show: sport governing bodies still massively limit the freedom of political expressions by the athletes during big sporting events.

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