Strasbourg, 5 May 2004
CCJE (2004) 26
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire on management of cases, judges’ role in the proceedings, and use of alternative dispute settlement methods: reply submitted by the delegation of Poland
A. ACCES TO JUSTICE
The informative function is fulfilled by the media. The judicial system does not anticipate such measures. In this situation it is difficult to estimate what impact it has upon the number of cases.
In Polish civil law we have simplified proceedings in definite categories of cases (pecuniary claims up to 5 000 Polish zloty (about 1000 Euro) and in those proceedings we use standardizing legal documents to commence litigation, usually it is not necessary to employ a lawyer in this kind of case.
Only the court can decide who can get the legal aid free of charge. When court grants the aid the State bears the expenses of this legal aid. Two conditions must be fulfilled:
complex case and poverty of the parties.
The law allows for agreements between parties. They are free in subject of those agreements, but lawyers are entitled to charge the losing party up to a multiple of the normal fee if her or she wins.
Legal costs insurance for a party`s own legal costs and any costs which her or she loses or she has to pay the winning party.
The winning party can only recover a limited amount from the losing party.
B. REDUCTION OF EXCESSIVE WORKLOADS IN THE COURTS
Non-judicial tasks are carried out by the judge assistances and registers.
The assistant of judge is responsible for preparatory proceedings before the trial, preparation of judicial decisions and projects of documents. He/she is also responsible for the effective and on time case management.
There exist voluntary bodies outside the judicial systems but they do not solve disputes. They are aimed at bringing the parties to the mutual agreement.
Ministry of Justice is responsible for such a review and consequent policy choices.The Minister also cooperates with the chief judges in the scope of administrative superintendence.
C. QUALITY OF JUSTICE AND ITS ASSESSMENT; QUANTITATIVE STATISTICAL DATA; MONITORING PROCEDURES
Quality is being assessed at the second instance court (appeals from decisions).The judges are obliged to undergo permanent training.
Statistical data are collected after each month/monthly, and they are analyzed within the court and by the Ministry of Justice.
The analysis results make the background of the organization activities and motivate them for further action if necessary.
D. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
a) in general
ADR takes place only in family, criminal and administrative mediation.
Mediators deal witch (the)mediations and they are out of court systems. They are not judges.
The Regional Chief Judge holds the list of mediators and at the same tame supervises the mediators.
Application of the legal aid depends on the party’s will.
Confidentiality is protected. Mediation is reported by the protocol for the court proposes.
It is possible to consider refusal to access ADR or to accept amicable settlement.
b) in-court ADR
The judge may recommended that the parties appear before a mediator but only with their consent. The judge cannot serve as a mediator. The cost of mediation are indicated in the costs of the case.
c) out-of court ADR
The judge chooses a mediator out of listed mediators. This choice of the person depends on the case subject and the case circumstances.
Out of court ADR makes only a report to the judge. The judge decides about further proceedings.
E. CASE MANAGEMENT
a) in general
Each Regional Court conducts own statistical calculations , which are further summarized by the Ministry. The final figures are changeable every year.
Polish civil and criminal procedures anticipate the measures to control the parties’ activities.
The district courts prefer single judge, while higher instance proceedings have panels of judges.
b) in civil disputes
Civil procedure contains simplified proceedings (standardized forms, judicial orders of payment).
(i ) forms
(ii ) judicial orders of payment ,judgment by default,
(iii) exclusively written(judicial orders of payment)
(iv ) yes, it is applicable
( v) yes, it is applicable,
(vi) only brief adjournments are applied,
(vii) both possibilities can be applied,
(viii)The court conducts taking evidence on application of the parties,
(ix ) A mere ”oral” judgment is not applied.
4.1 (i) Yes
(ii ) Yes
(iii) Yes, 5000 PLN
(v) Depends on the subject of the claim
(vi) No. There regular proceedings are taken.
(viii) No, regular proceedings are taken
4.2 Each judgment in force has force of “res judicata”
4.3 Yes it is liable.
5. Yes it is.
6. Time limits and interlocutory judgment assure a reasonable duration of ordinary proceedings.
7. During civil case may be done interim order which is immediate executable.
Urgency is required in the most of cases.
Judgment by default and judicial orders of payment may be granted without both parties having been heard.
8. Yes, it does
9. Provisional enforcement may be granted by the judge (maintenance – granted by the law). The party can lodge a petition about suspension of enforcement.
10. Each court decision may be subject to appeal.
11. In my opinion effectiveness of the activity of enforcement agents and transparency of information concerning assets of debtors in Polish law are not satisfy yet. Now, in Parliament we have projects of changes law in this subject. Recognition of judicial decisions rendered by judges from another Member State of the Council of Europe is function on the base of agreements. It must be change after accession to European Union.
c) criminal matters
(i) Pleading guilty , voluntary submission to penalty
(ii) Yes, it is
(iii) The prosecutor only can decide before case comes to court. Settlement out of court is not possible,
(iv) About 10 – 20 percent
(v ) Yes, it is.
(vi) Yes, it is
(vii) Notification of summons and decisions of the court is done through simple, usually by post, mail is not use yet.
(viii) Penal order in simplified proceedings