Current Discussions on the Rule of Law in Poland

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In this video, Dr. Marcin Romanowski discusses "Current Discussions on the Rule of Law in Poland – In Light of Changes in the Judiciary after 1989." This lecture is part of the 12th Annual Kościuszko Chair Spring Symposium in honor of Lady Blanka Rosenstiel sponsored by the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies and the Center for Intermarium studies. About the lecture: Since 2015, the United Right (Zjednoczona Prawica) has won the presidential and parliamentary elections twice, gaining a majority that allows for self-rule. The reforms, in particular in the area of the judiciary, met with fierce resistance from liberal and post-communist opposition parties and judges from higher courts. The central institutions of the European Union (the Commission, the EU Parliament, and the CJEU) are also involved in the dispute, interfering – in the opinion of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal – with the constitutional competencies of the EU Member States in a way that goes beyond scope of the competences conferred upon the EU by its Members in the Treaties. However, the real source of the aggressive opposition to judicial reforms is the fact that the Polish judiciary has not been transformed since 1989 when communism has officially fallen in Poland. As a result of the so-called “Round Table,” agreements were made in 1989 between a part of the opposition and the communist party, leaving the judiciary unchanged, becoming a de facto guarantee of the status quo for post-communist interest groups. Since 2015, Poland has been struggling with many unresolved problems from the communist era. Settlements with the past were implemented after 1989 to a very small extent, which influenced and still affects the quality of political, social, and academic life, and media, making Poland a country of “late post-communism.” The judiciary, the reform of which is under dispute, is one of the most important areas of this “late post-communism.” The lecture will present the causes of contemporary disputes over the Polish rule of law. About the speaker: Dr. Romanowski is an assistant professor at the Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law of the Faculty of Law and Administration within the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. He has a doctoral degree in law from the Faculty of Law and Administration at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. The main areas of his research interest are the law of settlement with the past lawlessness in countries, the natural law and the non-positivist concepts of law, the theory of European and global law, and legal anthropology and its applications in the creation and application of the law. During his professional career, Dr. Romanowski was the Director of the Institute of Justice (2016-2019), an expert of the parliamentary investigative commission to investigate allegations of corruption cases disclosed in the media during work on the amendment of the Broadcasting Act (2003-2004) and a co-author of the report prepared by this commission and, in the years 2005-2007 and 2015-2019, advisor to the Minister of Justice. Since 2019, he has served as Poland’s Deputy Minister of Justice. Make a gift to IWP: https://www.iwp.edu/donate/ IWP admissions: https://www.iwp.edu/admissions/

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