Region Western and Central Europe

National Report

Summary of Contents


Formally, Republic of Poland is a unitary state, with representative democracy, semi-presidential system of executive power, tripartite division of powers and multiple rule of law and human rights warranties. Since late 2015, however, the government has been evolving towards post-liberal democracy with authoritarian elements, limited division of powers and somewhat limited warranties of the rule of law and human rights, as well as increased power vested in the executive branch.

According to the 2011 census, population of Poland is 38.512 million (by 2018 estimates, 38.411 million)[1]. Poland remains relatively uniform ethnically, but the available data does not take into account substantial migration that had occurred in the last few years. Ethnic groups by members’ own declaration in the 2011 census are as follows: Polish: 94.8%, mixed Polish and non-Polish: 2.3%, non-Polish only: 1.5% (main non-Polish ethnic groups: German 0.2%, Kashubian: 0.6%, Silesian: 1%)[2]. Official language is Polish. Religious groups (2011 census) are Catholic 87.7%, Orthodox 0.4%, Protestant 0.3%, not having religion: 2.41%, refuse to answer: 7.1%.

In 2019, Poland ranked as the 56th economy in the world by nominal GDP per capita, (41st in the world by purchasing power parity). Gross national income (GNI) per capita in Poland is 27626 $ (2011 PPP)[3]. Chart 01 indicates Poland’s GDP at current prices since 2010[4].

Chart 01:  Poland’s GDP at current prices since 2010

Units 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019


Polish zloty


1445 1567 1629 1657 1720 1800 1861 1989 2116 2249
U.S. dollars


479 529 501 524 545 478 472 527 586 593

Poland ranks as a country of moderate inequality. The coefficient of human inequality is 8.0. 15% of the population lives below the income poverty line (national poverty line). Life expectancy at birth in Poland is 78.5 years. The number of expected years of schooling comes to 16.4. Poland’s HDI is 0.872.


3.1. Criminal Procedure

Preparatory proceedings can be conducted in two forms: an investigation or an inquiry. Investigation is carried out in all cases of indictable offences, i.e. prohibited acts punishable by imprisonment for at least three years or more. Also some summary offences (prohibited acts punishable by a fine higher than 30 times the daily rate, the restriction of liberty or imprisonment exceeding one month) are to be examined in the investigation. Remaining offences are examined in an inquiry, but a public prosecutor may decide that a particular case must take the form of the investigation instead of the inquiry due to the particular importance or complexity of the case.

The investigation is conducted by a public prosecutor. S/he may yet entrust to the police or other similar agency authorized by law (Border Guard, Internal Security Agency, National Tax administration, Central Anti-Corruption Bureau or Military Gendarmerie) the entire investigation or its parts. Even if the proceedings are designated to the police, they are not allowed to carry out activities related to the presentation of charges, modification and supplementation of the decision on the presentation of charges and closing of the investigation.

In principle, the investigation should be closed within three months, and the inquiry – within two months. The investigation may be prolonged “in justified cases” by the public prosecutor supervising the investigation or his/her direct superior, for no longer than a year. In “particularly justified cases”, a public prosecutor superior to the public prosecutor supervising or conducting the investigation may extend the investigation for a further definite term. The inquiry may be extended for up to three months by the public prosecutor, and “in particularly justified cases” for further specified term. Despite the wording, in practice such prolongation is granted in most cases.

A suspected person may be arrested within preparatory proceedings – or even before their initiation – in principle by the police. This competence should only be used if there are justified grounds to suspect that a given person committed an offence and it is feared that s/he might escape, go into hiding, conceal traces, if his/her identity cannot be established and if the conditions are fulfilled to order accelerated procedure. In 2010 an additional ground was added, enabling the police to arrest a person suspected of using violence against a household member, when it is feared that such an offence may be repeated. In such cases it is obligatory for the police to arrest a suspected person when a dangerous item, such as a gun or a knife, has been used.

The arrest may be questioned by an interlocutory appeal. The arrestee may demand that the grounds, legality and propriety of the arrest be examined.

The Code of Criminal Procedure determines that the arrestee has to be surrendered to the jurisdiction of the court with a motion to order detention on remand within 48 hours or be released. Then, the court has 24 hours to deliver to the arrestee a decision upon a detention on remand. A person must not be arrested for a second time after his or her release on the basis of the same facts and evidence.

For the detention on remand to be ordered, the so called general and special conditions must be met. General grounds concern the probability that a particular person has committed an offence – the detention on remand may only be ordered if, according to the evidence already collected, it is highly probable that that the suspect committed an offence. Moreover, such a decision has to be substantiated by the necessity to ensure the correct course of proceedings and, exceptionally, to prevent the accused from committing a new serious offence.

Specific conditions require that there is a justified concern that the accused might escape or go into hiding, might try to unlawfully obstruct the proceedings, might commit an offence against life, health or public security. A suspicion of the possibility to obstruct the correct course of proceedings may be substantiated by the severity of the punishment provided for a given offence, i.e. minimum eight years of the imprisonment. As too automatic a tool, the latter has been contested by entities established for protection of human rights, such as the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights[1].

Even if these conditions are met, in principle detention on remand may not be ordered if it would entail a serious danger to the life or health of the suspect or exceptional hardship for the accused or his closest family.

The detention on remand in preparatory proceedings may be decided only by the court, for the maximum of three months. It may be prolonged for a period not exceeding twelve months by a court of first instance. Appellate court may extend the detention if it finds that such a need arises in connection with the suspension of criminal proceedings, actions aimed at establishing or confirming the identity of the accused, the performance of evidentiary procedures in a particularly complicated case or abroad, or if the accused intentionally protracts the proceedings.

According to the statistical data published by the Prison Guard, from 2009 till 2015 the number of detained persons was falling. Since 2015, however, this trend has been reversed and the number of detainees is gradually increasing beyond the increases in the number of new criminal cases. As of 2019, 8356 persons were in detention (on the average)[2]. In 2018, the prosecutor requested detention in 19655 cases, and 90,46% of requests were granted. In 12189 cases (94,9% of requests) the detention was extended over statutory limits. 3,73% of decisions were successfully impaired in interlocutory proceedings before regional courts[3].

As a rule, an indictment is submitted to the court by the public prosecutor. S/he either prepares it on his/her own in the investigation, or approves the one drawn up by the Police. The public prosecutor may allow that particular entities, enlisted in an act of the Minister of Justice, to submit an indictment on their own, without public prosecutor’s interference.

An aggrieved party may initiate judicial proceedings only if certain conditions are met. It is possible when the public prosecutor refuses to instigate preparatory proceedings or discontinues the proceedings, the victim’s appeal to that decision is approved by the court – and then the public prosecutor again refuses to instigate preparatory proceedings or discontinues the proceedings. From 2019, an aggrieved party is then obliged to appeal to the superior public prosecutor. If his/her decision is to the negative, an aggrieved party may submit his/her own indictment to the court.

In some criminal offences, like slander or insult, judicial proceedings are in principle initiated only by a victim. Still the public prosecutor may submit an indictment when s/he finds that it is necessary due to a public interest.

Chart 04. Preparatory proceedings

In judicial proceedings, an accused may continue to be detained on remand, the grounds for which remain the same as in the preparatory proceedings. When the time limits are considered, the total period of detention on remand until the first judgment is issued by the court of first instance may not exceed two years. It may, nevertheless, be extended by the appellate court.

A special judicial procedure concerns situations in which a penal order may be issued in a hearing without the participation of the parties. When a case was conducted in the form of the inquiry, the court may decide that the trial is unnecessary if in view of gathered evidence, circumstances of the criminal act and the guilt of the accused do not justify doubt. The court may then sentence the accused only to a penalty of restriction of liberty or to a fine. Both the accused and the public prosecutor may file an objection. In the consequence of which the penal order becomes invalid and the case is examined on general principles.

De iure, several principles are established which ought to guarantee the fair trial and equality of arms. However, the later amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure strengthen the position of the public prosecutor, not only in relation to the suspect or the accused, but also to the court. As a result, in particular cases a possibility arises that the rights of the suspect or the accused may not be duly respected.

No time limits for the judicial proceedings have been established. The ECHR has found the prolongation of the criminal proceedings a systematic problem of the Polish justice system[4]. The broad scope of utilisation of detention on remand has also been criticized. In some publicized cases the delays in criminal proceedings have been used as a part of the prosecutor’s office tactic to obtain evidence from the detainee in exchange for release before trial.

Chart 05. Judicial proceedings

3.2. Civil Procedure

Basic civil procedure of first instance is common for civil, business, labour and family cases. It consists of filing the statement of claims with the court, presenting evidence, conducting hearings and passing the verdict. Theoretically, it is possible that the verdict is passed at first hearing. Once the verdict is passed, the plaintiff must obtain an enforcement clause from the court to be able to refer the case to a bailiff. Additional elements in the procedure may include preparatory meetings, settlement attempts, opt-in mediation and court-ordered mediation.

In October 2019 preparatory meetings became semi-obligatory. In their course a plan of proceedings should be drafted and the main hearing may be avoided if parties decide to settle. Unsystematic evidence indicates however, that courts prefer to avoid preparatory meetings in an attempt to save time based on their typically negative evaluation of settlement chances and other potential advantages of a preparatory meeting.

In urgent matters an injunction is possible at any stage of proceedings, including before the first hearing and after the verdict is passed. In order to obtain an injunction order, the party must substantiate its claims and demonstrate a legal interest that needs to be defended.

Two types of simplified writ of payment procedures may be used for non-contested pecuniary obligations. In such cases the court may pass a payment order without a public hearing which allows the creditor to quickly collect the amounts due (with the use of a bailiff). The option is widely used in business-to-business disputes and those involving mass service providers and consumers.

To increase efficiency of the simplified procedure an online court has been created, which accepts statements of claims in the electronic mode only and may issue the payment order bypassing the evidence collection phase. In case of an objection from the defendant, the case is forwarded to a regular court (objections are exempt from court fees). Whilst the number of cases resolved in the electronic mode well exceeds 2 million per year, some objections are raised about the ability of pro se defendants to effectively submit objections, particularly given short time limits. Anecdotal evidence exists of cases where the procedure has been abused to obtain orders of payments for non-existent obligations.

Chart 06. Basic civil procedure of first instance

The position of a judge in the civil procedure in Poland has traditionally been strong. Not only does s/he organize the proceedings and preside during hearings, but also proactively gathers evidence, disciplines attorneys and provides some guidance to pro se litigants. Except for the latter role, judges in Poland typically act in a fairly authoritative fashion, sanctioning excessive and untimely motions of the parties and limiting oral argument in an attempt to be as time-effective as possible. As a result, important communication during trial occurs mostly in writing.

As far as guiding pro se litigants is concerned, the scope of judges’ duties is explicitly stipulated in the code of civil procedure, indicating the situations when the party should be instructed. Judges rarely go beyond such obligations due to the fears that so doing might be seen as not impartial. Empirical evidence suggests that even when attempts of making the procedure more adversarial are undertaken, imposing more information duties on judges and prohibiting them taking a proactive role in other aspects of the hearings, the courts continue to maintain the strong position. This is mostly due to conservative expectations of the participants and because of pressing time constraints[5].

Two mechanisms of encouraging settlement in civil procedure exist: court-ordered mediation and settlement attempts. The former is discussed in the next section. The latter may be undertaken privately by the parties or take the form of a settlement conference. Private settlement attempts may take place before the statement of claims is filed, but a settlement agreement may be considered inadmissible by a court if it contravenes or circumvents the law or the principles of social conduct. Court settlements may be reached at any time of proceedings.

Settlement conferences are semi-compulsory. They are organized on demand of a party before the first hearing. Failure to participate in a conference has no impact on the final verdict. However, the party who fails to participate may be obliged by the court to pay the costs incurred. Moreover, in some cases of plaintiff’s failure to participate, statute of limitations may still apply to his/her claim even if normally the settlement conference suspends it.

Settlements are fairly uncommon. In the years 2016-2017, approximately 75000 settlements in civil, family, labour and business cases were reached in the courts of first instance per year. In 2018, the number dropped to 67475 (1,4% of all new cases). Some critical positions on the rationality and the use of this institution may yet be observed in the legal discourse. It is observed that settlement conferences have been used as a method of protracting the case by some parties. On these grounds, following the amendment of the code of civil procedure in 2019, the hitherto small fees for settlement attempt have been significantly increased. Currently, the party willing to settle must pay up to 20% of the court fee, which in turn is calculated based on the case value.

Technically and formally, Polish civil legal system adheres to rule of law standards and respects due process. Most due process guarantees are implemented in the civil procedure, such as the mechanisms of disqualification of judges and expert witnesses, party’s rights to be heard, requirements of judges’ impartiality (with the reservations concerning the method of appointing judges that have emerged in recent years) etc. Practical outcomes of the system’s operation yet justify raising some objections as to observance of due process standards, because  systematic, even if isolated, issues persist related to the possibility of effectively making some cases before a court.

In the last years, the most serious systematic violations of due process in civil procedure were related to the situation of persons with disabilities. According to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, procedural accommodations (such as the use of sign language and interpreters), access to buildings, and legal assistance need to be improved in Poland in the civil law context. Also the use of the incapacitation mechanism which prevents some persons with disabilities from accessing the justice system is heavily criticized by human rights activists and the CRPD[6]. Anecdotal evidence indicates that procedural issues of insufficient representation and overly mechanistic application of law emerge also in cases pertaining to forced treatment, including forced psychiatric treatment and forced placement in care institutions, and this despite the reform introducing mandatory representation in 2018.

Another important example of due process issues relate to the fraudulent exploitation of a number of civil law institutions in reprivatization cases relating to property nationalized in 1940s and 1950s[7]. For example, in a number of publicized cases the possibility of appointing guardians for the missing owners of pre-World War II real property was used to obtain control over that property despite no actual grounds to do so existed. In some cases courts accepted the motions to appoint guardians for persons who, if alive, must have been well over 100 years old when the decision was passed.

Vocal activism in the field of family law may also be observed concerning distribution of parenting rights between men and women in the case of divorce and post-divorce, with alleged discrimination of men. Little systematic evidence in the last years supports such claims, even if some evidence has been presented in the past.

Multiple reservations related to due process in civil procedure stem from the unsatisfactory course of proceedings due to practical issues and resource restraints, including delays, ineffective collection of debt (i.e. very ineffective alimony collection system) and high costs, preventing minor cases from making it to the court.

3.3. Alternative Dispute Resolution

In no type of court procedures is any form of ADR compulsory before the case is heard. A possibility of opt-in mediation prior to the first court hearing exists in criminal, civil, labour, business, administrative, family and juvenile cases. In civil, labour and business cases the plaintiff is obliged to include in his/her summons the information on his/her prior attempts to mediate or to state the reasons for which s/he has not done so. The court is then obliged to inform the parties of the possibility to mediate and may oblige them to take part in a preliminary mediation meeting, designed to provide information on the aims and course of mediation. Depending on results of this, and based on the court’s own evaluation of the chances of mediation’s success, the court may also oblige the parties to take part in an actual mediation attempt, but the parties may opt-out once it begins.

The parties are encouraged to mediate by considerable discounts in court fees – 100% if the mediation succeeds before the court’s first hearing and 75% if it succeeds after the first court hearing takes place. Mediators’ fees are covered by parties, but are regulated by law at a low level. Persons of limited means may be exempted from paying them.

A party may also be obliged by the court to repay the costs incurred by his/her “obviously unwarranted” refusal to take part in mediation. Another incentive to undertaking mediation is the fact that the statute of limitations does not apply while cases are being mediated, and that even if mediation itself is interrupted by the other party.

Despite these incentives, and despite growths in mediation that have occurred in the last years, the scope of mediation compared to the number of cases heard is still very limited. Chart 07 indicates the scope of such diversions in all types of procedures where they are possible by year and case type[8].

Chart 07. Mediation in Poland, 2013-2019

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 1st  half 2019
Number of cases where mediation was ordered by court 13370 13239 17811 24105 27493 26810 14933
As percent of all cases where mediation may be ordered 0,50% 0,50% 0,70% 0,90% 1,09% 1,07% 1,18%
Number of actual mediations 3836 3798 4328 5246 8897 7090 4006
As percent of all mediation cases 28,69% 28,69% 24,30% 21,76% 32,36% 26,45% 26,83%
Number of cases settled as a result of mediation 663 922 1155 1649 2269 2476 1535
As percent of actual mediation 26,80% 32,88% 33,39% 32,47% 34,21% 32,25% 36,70%
Number cases with of information meetings n/a 1399 2308 1503

It appears that the most significant policy driver behind development of mediation has been the need to improve the pace of court proceedings. It was hoped that introduction of mediation would relieve the courts from the necessity of hearing certain types of cases thus reducing delays and caseloads[9]. Given the limited effect the reform has brought, these hopes appear so far to have been ill-founded.

Anecdotal evidence and limited official data support the perception that voluntary or consensual diversion of disputes to non-judicial forums is marginal in Poland.

Both types of dispute resolution are yet formally possible. The parties may mediate any civil case at will, and then the mediation settlement is subject to court approval in a non-disputed procedure. Once approved, the settlement cannot be challenged. A dispute may also be resolved by means of arbitration if a contractual clause provides for this possibility or if parties so agree once the dispute emerges. In such a case arbitration becomes the standard route of dispute resolution for the parties unless they both opt-out. The decision of an arbitration tribunal may be challenged before a common court only if it contravenes a substantive law.

Some out-of-court opt-in ADR mechanisms have been established as a result of implementation of the EU’s ADR Directive[10]. Under this scheme, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection maintains a register of public and private institutions authorized to amicably resolve disputes between consumers and businesses. Currently, 11 such institutions are listed, providing free (in some cases at minimal cost) resolution of consumer disputes, both general and emerging in specific sectors (telecommunication, finance, transportation etc). The procedure may be mandatory for businesses in some sectors if the consumer opts in. The resolution may be binding if the parties opted in before initiating the procedure. One example of a publicly available arbitration institution which predates implementation of the directive are Consumer Courts established by Trade Inspection – a public organization tasked with “horizontally” resolving general consumer disputes. In 2018, 18.5 thousand cases were brought before authorized institutions, including 9 thousand resolved by Consumer Courts[11].

A peculiar institution of Polish labour law dispute resolution system are conciliatory committees which may be established under the Labour Code by employers to amicably resolve disputes emerging in the workplace. In practice such committees are extremely rare despite the long existence of legal provisions enabling them.

Some promising forms of amicable dispute resolution that existed in the past are not existent any more[12].

3.4. Simplification of law and by-passing legal processes

Simplified procedures and bypasses are uncommon in Polish law. As it were, in civil law, the simplified procedure is used to obtain orders of payments, but this mostly serves the needs of the multiple player plaintiffs, such as e.g. telecom corporations.

Apart from that, a simplified procedure is default in cases where case value does not exceed 20000 PLN as well as those relating to warranties, guarantees and rents. The simplification comprises a number of procedural changes compared to the standard procedure, aiming at making evidence gathering shorter and eliminating some procedural avenues. Until late 2019, statements of complaints and other motions had to be filed using standardized forms. This obligation was criticized as cumbersome and overly formalistic, and was eventually abolished. No systematic empirical data exists that would indicate if this had any impact on the outcomes of court proceedings.

In contrast, in criminal law plea bargaining procedures, no contest pleas and summary procedures are widely used. In 2019 they constituted, respectively, 5%, 23% and 23% of all convictions before Polish courts[13]. The ease and scope of obtaining verdicts in these procedures may substantiate objections as to the unfavourable position of the suspects.

Consistently with the reluctance towards establishing simplified legal processes, no equitable resolutions are permitted in Poland. Courts are obliged to strictly abide by and apply the law.

No fault compensation is possible in medical negligence cases. An optional procedure exists where claims are heard by out-of-court medical negligence commissions. They work in an administrative and semi-mediatory mode, awarding compensation for harms caused by medical errors. Amounts that can be obtained are capped by statutory regulation at a fairly low level.

Effectiveness of medical negligence commissions is disputed. Unsystematic evidence and an evaluation executed by the Supreme Audit Office in 2018 suggest that only a small fraction of all cases of harms caused by medical negligence is heard before them, compensations awarded are small and procedures are slow and cumbersome. In the years 2012-2017, 2203 cases were initiated and 1456 resolved[14].


The Constitution of the Republic of Poland includes several provisions which are meant to guarantee access to justice, equal access to court and fair trial. According to Article 45(1) of the Constitution, everyone shall have the right to a fair and public hearing of his case, without undue delay, before a competent, impartial and independent court. Moreover, the equality before the law is established in Article 32(1) of the Constitution. This applies i.e. to the regulations regarding access to court.

The aforementioned rights may be constrained, but only in accordance with the prerequisites indicated in Article 31(3) of the Constitution. Any limitation upon the exercise of constitutional freedoms and rights may be imposed only by statute, and only when necessary in a democratic state for the protection of its security or public order, or to protect the natural environment, health or public morals, or the freedoms and rights of other persons. Such limitations shall not violate the essence of freedoms and rights.

When international law is taken into consideration, the Republic of Poland is the signatory of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Therefore, Article 6 of this Convention, regulating the right to a fair trial is binding for Poland. The possible restrictions of this right can only be imposed based on a proportionality test formulated by the European Court of Human Rights.

As a member state of the European Union, Poland is also obliged to act in accordance with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The applicability of a Charter is nevertheless limited to the situations of violation of rights and freedoms guaranteed by the European Union law.

The ordinary legislation, mostly the codes of procedures, include specific regulations regarding the provisions constituting the right to a fair trial.

As it were, the current Polish Government has been introducing several reforms which have been substantiated by the need to facilitate access to justice. The law on the Ordinary Courts Organization, the law on the Supreme Court and the law on the Constitutional Tribunal have been amended.

The assessment of international bodies such as the Venice Commission, OSCE or the European Commission indicate, nevertheless, that the changes are rather of political character and have been intended to confine the independence of courts and impartiality of judges.

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for access to justice policy. The most recent official document indicating specific policy goals in the field of access to justice is “the strategy of modernization of the justice area in the years 2014-2020”.[1] It was published in 2013 and never abolished nor amended by the current government despite undertaking sweeping reforms. It specifies general objectives and quantitative measures to be achieved in the justice sector, yet it remains unclear by what specific means should access to justice be expanded.

Over the last years the actual policy being implemented has also been rather unstable due to multiple changes in codes of civil and penal procedures and the changing political agendas of subsequent governments. Clearly, the common policy has been to increase the number of practising lawyers, establish the out-of-court legal advice system and promote mediation. The most effective changes have occurred in the field of deregulation of the legal professions, with substantial growth of the number of practising lawyers in the last decade.

It has to be noted that the term “access to justice” is not used in the Polish public debate. This is partially due to the fact that directly translated to Polish, the notion gives the impression of certain clumsiness, yet admittedly no alternative umbrella term exists to encompass all phenomena discussed in the access to justice debate. As a result, specific issues relevant for access to justice are debated in isolation. Noteworthy episodes of public debate on the topic in recent years include the issue of out-of-court legal aid, the deregulation of legal professions, and some issues related to class actions against banks. More technical matters, such as procedural changes, usually go unnoticed for the general public and remain reserved to a specialized discussion.

As far as access to justice in particular ethnic or migrant groups is concerned, there are no legal regulations that would confine their formal rights. Also the practice of the functioning of courts, as well as the jurisprudence of the ECHR or the ECJ do not indicate that a complex negative attitude within the Polish judiciary towards certain groups exist. The obstacles in the access to justice are rather of cross-sectional nature and stem from inadequacies or general legal regulations.

This said, important deficits in access to justice can be observed as far as persons seeking asylum and economic migrants are concerned. Unsystematic evidence exists indicating that asylum cases are opaque to petitioners themselves and the external public. A number of publicized cases of expulsion of individuals on unclear grounds took place in the last few years.


6.1. Overview of judicial costs for litigants

Pursuant to the Act of 28 July 2005 on Court Costs in Civil Cases, litigants are required to pay a court fee to start a proceeding at a court of general jurisdiction. Letters subject to fees include claims and counterclaims, appeals and grievances, cassation appeals and complaints aimed at declaring a final ruling inconsistent with law, objections against default judgments, objections against orders for payment in enforcement proceedings (except for writ of payment procedure), main and secondary interventions as well as certain types of applications, petitions, and complaints.

Payment of further court costs is also required. They are usually linked with evidentiary procedures, such as remuneration of expert witnesses, translators or interpreters. They may also be incurred due to appointment of guardians for a party in a given case, reimbursement of travel and overnight accommodation costs and lost earnings or incomes of witnesses, costs of taking other evidence, costs of notices, costs of detainment and stays in custody, costs of mediation carried out as a result of court referral, and so forth.

On top of that, during the progress of proceedings there are letters that necessitate additional fees too, such as many grievances, applications to secure evidence, complaints against the actions of an enforcement officer, or issuance fees of files such as certified duplicates, excerpts, or extracts.

The Act of 28 July 2005 on Court Costs in Civil Cases is specifically dedicated to regulate calculation of court taxes or fees in civil cases. Regarding property rights, a fixed fee is charged for a letter, determined according to the value of the subject of the dispute or the value of the subject of the appeal. The fee scale starts at 30 PLN for cases up to 500 PLN and finishes at 1,000 PLN for cases over 15,000 up to 20,000 PLN. In cases where the value of the subject of the dispute or the value of the subject of the appeal exceeds PLN 20,000 fees are calculated as a proportion of claim value and capped. Accordingly, a proportionate fee in the amount of 5% of claim value is charged for a letter, up to no more than 200,000 PLN.

In other cases regulations are quite complicated and vary on a specific matter. For instance, petitions for divorce,  separation, and the protection of personality rights are charged with a fixed fee of 600 PLN, while petition fees in cases regarding denial of paternity or maternity, establishing a regime of separation of property, trespass, or the determination of the establishment of a tenancy relationship amount to 200 PLN. Moreover there are separate provisions governing i.a. business court cases, labour law and security cases, as well as non-litigious proceedings, enforcement proceedings, or bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings.

6.2. Exemption from judicial costs

The Polish name for the exemption of judicial costs is zwolnienie od kosztów sądowych. The main provisions concerning civil court proceedings are located in the Title IV of the Act of 28 July 2005 on Court Costs in Civil Cases. As regards administrative court proceedings, the main provisions can be found in the Section V Chapter 3 of the Law on Proceedings before Administrative Courts.

Exemption from judicial costs occurs ex lege or by request of the petitioner. The former occurs based on the special status of a litigant and a particular legal matter being judged. Examples include procedures to determine paternity or maternity and the associated claims, some child support claims, actions of the employee against the employer, protection of mental health.

The ex lege exemption applies to specific entities such as the labour inspector and trade unions in labour law cases, a powiat consumer ombudsman in cases regarding protection of individual interest of consumers or regarding practices restricting competition and practices harmful to collective interest of consumer, and public benefit organisations (except for cases regarding their business activity).

The other type of criteria for exemption from judicial costs is personal economic vulnerability. It occurs when a party demonstrates that s/he is unable to bear such costs without detriment to her/his or her/his family’s necessary subsistence or that bearing the said costs would put her/him at risk of such detriment. The exemption may also be granted to a legal person if it demonstrates it has no means to cover court costs.

If exemption from judicial costs based on economic vulnerability is under consideration, the decision is within competence of the court where the case is to be tried or is already pending. An application for exemption from court costs can be submitted in writing or orally for the record and should be accompanied by a statement (according to a defined format) containing detailed data on the family status, property, income, and sources of support of the person seeking to be exempted from such costs. If the petition is rejected, the appeal procedure is analogous to the one described in Section 5.8.3 above.

A person who has been exempted from judicial costs may only be charged with the court costs if at the end of the judicial process s/he receives financial resources that enable her/him to cover the costs of the procedure.

However, as far as a losing party who used the ox-officio defence is concerned, the general principle applies. The party losing the case is liable to reimburse the other party for any costs necessary to present its case and the litigant who has benefited from some form of legal aid is not excluded from it. The Act of 28 July 2005 on Court Costs in Civil Cases explicitly states that exemption from court costs does not exempt a party from the obligation to reimburse the costs of the court proceedings to the opposite party.

Nonetheless, in particularly justified cases the court may order the unsuccessful party to pay only some costs or decide not to charge the unsuccessful party with any costs at all. As for the relation of exemption of judicial costs to this extraordinary measure, exemption does not translate automatically to being granted a concession from reimbursement. Yet it is perceived that it is one of the main circumstances that the court considers.

All in all, judicial costs in Poland may be discouraging litigation, both in claims of small value and more valuable ones. That is not only because of amounts to be paid, which may come to as much as 200 000 PLN for claims exceeding 4 000 000 PLN, but also due to the necessity of separately paying fees for individual actions. This is a nuisance and makes costs difficult to predict.

6.3. Mechanisms to reduce costs by variations to courts and procedures

There are no specifically designed courts of special jurisdictions where fees would not be collected. Instead, in Polish law there is a tendency to create special procedures within jurisdiction of common courts, which are priced below the standard court fee of 5% of claims value. It needs to be noted, however there are no fees charged in proceedings initiated by citizens before the Constitutional Tribunal.

Several specific types of proceedings are enumerated in the Code of Civil Procedure that strive both to accelerate proceedings and to reduce concomitant expenses. There exists the simplified procedure in which cases are adjudicated if the value of the subject-matter of the dispute does not exceed 20,000 PLN. It also encompasses cases concerning claims arising from a warranty or guarantee – if the value of the subject-matter of the dispute does not exceed that amount. Here, costs are not calculated as a percentage of the claim value, but are established in a tariff, as cited in Section 6.1. Paradoxically, the amounts are not smaller than in regular procedure but may come to 20% of the claim value. Potential cost reduction is a result of a limited number of possible actions rather than lowered fees.

Costs are actually reduced in some socially sensitive matters. This applies e.g. in labour law and social security cases in which a basic fee is collected (as for the former, the employee is excluded from this concession) only for appeals, grievances, cassation appeals, and complaints aimed at finding the final ruling inconsistent with the law. Reduced fees are applicable also in cases regarding environmental protection or in enforcement proceedings.

In addition, there exists an order of payment procedure applicable if the plaintiff seeks financial claims or other fungible items and the facts substantiating the claim being sought are proven by either an official document, a bill accepted by the debtor, or a call for payment and debtor’s written acknowledgement of debt. Here, the fees are reduced to 25% of the regular fee to come to 1.25% of claim value.

Moreover, the simplified European procedures are operable: the European Order for Payment Procedure[1] and the European Small Claims Procedure[2], with the fee reduced to 50% of regular amount.

In some circumstances the court may oblige the parties to take part in a less costly procedure – mediation attempt, but the parties may opt out after its commencement. Other conciliatory instruments are provided in legislation, such as conciliation commissions resolving disputes arising out of employment relationships. Also numerous arbitration tribunals are usually less costly than court trial and making use of them is encouraged – e.g. in consumer protection cases or supervised by the Financial Ombudsman. Nonetheless, consent of both parties is required therefore they are not compulsory.


A number of procedures for protection of diffuse and collective rights exist under Polish law. Firstly, consumer rights may be protected using the abusive contact terms procedure. It authorizes the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) to put contractual terms which abuse consumer rights on a public register, thus forbidding their use in practice and declaring them null and void in all past contracts involving the contrahent that had used it. Such decisions may then be contested before the Competition and Consumer Protection Court (CCPC).

Secondly, class action procedure is available to groups of persons not smaller than 10, who pursue the same claim in civil and consumer law cases. Only enumerated types of cases qualify. The procedure is of the “opt-in” type, meaning that the verdict only applies to persons who have joined the class action, rather than all that are affected by the activity of the defendant.

Thirdly, diffuse rights in the area of environmental law are protected under the Aarhus Convention and local regulation. On these grounds, an “ecological organization” is authorized to join administrative proceedings as a party, file motions and appeals if the proceedings require public participation.

The role of legal aid providers in these procedures is limited. No general provisions exist that would cover all types of legal aid providers, entitling them to play a role in such proceedings. As a rule, aid providers entitled to represent their clients may participate in such procedures just as they may do in all other types of proceedings.

Some exceptions do apply, though. As far as abusive contract terms procedures are concerned, legal aid providers are not formally entitled to initiate OCCP’s activities. However, some of the abusive contract terms procedures instigated by OCCP ex officio may be related to the fact that consumer rights protection is monitored by consumer rights’ ombudsmen and the Financial Ombudsman, who pass the information on possible abusive contractual terms to the OCCP.

Class actions may be instigated by groups of individuals and by powiat consumer rights’ ombudsmen, who then act as representatives (named plaintiff) of the claimants’ group.

Ecological organizations are NGOs defined in the Law on providing information on the environment and its protection, public participation in environmental protection and environmental impact assessments. Under it, an “ecological organization” is one that has been active in the field of environmental protection and has included doing so among its statutory goals for no less than 12 months before joining the proceedings. Even if such entities also happen to be providers of legal aid, the two activities are not formally linked.

In class action, court fees are limited to 2% of the claim’s value, which is a notable reduction compared to the regular 5%. Attorney fees are limited to 20% of the claim’s value.

Areas under discussion have been under extensive reform in the past few years. In 2018, the abuse clause procedure has been reformed in such a way as to provide the OCCP with more competence. As a result, the abusive terms enter on the register by virtue of OCCP’s decision rather than by CCPC’s verdict, and may then be questioned before the CCPC. Whilst appealing to the CCPC suspends the OCCP decision, the entrepreneur questioning the OCCP’s decision must undertake an action to this effect, which may encourage compliance.

In 2017 a reform was introduced amending the law on collective actions. It expanded the scope of availability of group claims procedures beyond consumer cases, torts, and hazardous products. Currently, class actions may be filed in tort cases, cases relating to responsibility for hazardous products, contractual responsibility and unjust enrichment cases, and consumer cases. Some other procedural changes were made to increase the pace of proceedings. As yet, the practical effects of the reform have not been put to scrutiny by official overseers, but anecdotal evidence indicates that it has not caused the increase of class action cases.

The abusive contract terms procedure is fairly widely used, resulting in more than 7700 entries (cases of abusive terms application) on the OCCP’s register based on CCPC’s verdicts. On top of that, 34 decisions of the OCCP have been published in the new procedure.

Class actions are used fairly infrequently. Despite some widely-publicized cases where consumers managed to obtain favourable verdicts against banks and other large corporations, in the years 2010-2018 only 20 to 40 new cases were filed each year. The number of plaintiffs covered remains unknown. As a result of the limited utilization of the class action procedure, little can be said about the difficulties encountered by parties as far as their right to be heard is concerned.

In the administrative procedure the activities of ecological organization and their effects happen to be contested. On the one hand, the burden of proving that organization’s participation is in the public interest rests on the organization itself. This may sometimes be difficult due to the fact that the term “public interest” is not defined for the sake of intervention and sometimes interpreted formalistically by courts. On the other hand, the practice of ecological organizations’ interventions is sometimes evaluated as exaggerated, irregular or fraudulent, particularly as far as investment and infrastructural processes are concerned.


In principle, mobile phone use and internet access in Poland are widely available, affordable and the service is reliable. Still, digital divide persists and is likely to correlate with difficulties in accessing justice. According to market research commissioned by the Office of Electronic Communication (OEC)[1], in 2018 72,7% of respondents aged 15 and older used the internet, 93,1% had a mobile phone, of which 74,8% used a smartphone. Within the 27,3% group of persons who said they didn’t use internet, 45% indicated they didn’t need to, 38% – did not have the competence, 22% lacked the required devices, 14.4% just couldn’t afford it, and 1.4% could not do so for a technical reason. According to Statistics Poland study of 2018[2], usage of smartphones and web services strongly depends on age, educational status and dwelling, with the eldest, least educated inhabitants of the country being far less likely to use technology than the young educated big city dwellers.

Use of technology for provision of public service is on the rise, but still limited. Certain public services – mainly those related to contacting public administration and providing it with required documents  (i.e. filing forms, obtaining information from public registers, paying taxes, obtaining medical prescriptions and certificates of sick leaves) – may be accessed on the internet. Technology is still mainly used rather as a method of communication with traditional service providers, than blended into the core of public services and affecting their nature.

In line with this, according to OEC’s survey in 2018, 10% of internet users who used mobile phones, declared that they used them to deal with official matters (compared to 66,7% who used their phones to access social media). Statistics Poland finds that in 2017 approx. 21% of individuals completed official forms online, compared to the EU average of 30%.

It is typical for legal practitioners to use IT for business purposes, including standard productivity software and legal databases. Email communication is typical, and may be used (although not obligatorily) also for serving motions and court decisions. Elements of the case management system are made available for practitioners by courts. It is reasonable to believe that more advanced systems of case and client management are in use in large firms delivering service to corporate clients and specializing in specific areas of practice (i.a. debt recovery), but no systematic data exists to support this perception. This may have an impact on the use of technology for low income clients, because they are more likely to use small firms and individual practitioners.

On the other hand, in the simple advice segment of the legal services market, some attempts are made to deliver advice and other types of service in a limited or unbundled mode, over the internet. Segmentation of the legal services market is yet not systematically researched so it is impossible to judge on popularity of such services and the impact they may have on the situation of low income clients.

Productivity software, legal databases, and email communication are also widely used by NGOs working in the not-for-profit sector. Depending on the scale of an NGO’s operations, they may also use some other technological tools, like a case management system and client relationships managers. Some NGOs, particularly those which have secured stable public funding, also provide regular distance service, including email advice and hotlines. The advice offered in this mode is yet limited to the out-of-court service. Similarly, running websites with up-to-date content is only possible for select few NGOs having stable external financing.

Consequently, technology is not used in Poland to improve effectiveness of referrals, helping self-represented litigants to take their own cases, assisting in the delivery of pro bono service by private legal practitioners and support for paralegals. Social media may be used for some campaigning and advocacy, but the efforts to do so are not an element of sustained PR efforts.

Similarly, private practitioners and NGOs which obtain funding from the public sources to deliver assistance for eligible persons in the state out-of-court legal aid system are only obliged to report to the funder in the electronic mode the statistical reports of service provided. No such duty exists in the case of publicly funded representation. Except for being able to provide distance service in the out-of-court system to persons with restricted mobility, practitioners are not required and encouraged to use technology.

No ODR systems are officially developed by the state in Poland, other than the mechanisms introduced by the EU as the Online Dispute Resolution platform. Similarly, no successful initiatives to provide legal services in an innovative way in Poland are known to the authors.

Internationally-focused organizations, such as HiiL or the Open Society Justice Initiative are not active in Poland.


Global efforts on access to justice have very limited resonance in Poland, both in the public and non-governmental sector. For instance, UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.3 has been practically absent from the public debate and has no reflection whatsoever in the Ministry of Justice’s policy declarations. One global initiative that might have recently had impact on access to justice in Poland is the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. While it is not exclusively oriented at access to justice, it is very relevant to it in a number of fields. It also indirectly produced tangible results in the form of establishment of mandatory free legal aid in forced psychiatric treatment proceedings.

Regional attempts at improving access to justice are much more pronounced and provide much more impact, as discussed in the preceding sections. This includes European Union’s initiatives in the field of consumer access to justice and cross-border access to justice, EU’s and Council of Europe’s activity in the area of access to courts and legal aid and obligations following from the UNECE’s convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.

International cooperation in the non-governmental sector aimed at improving access to justice isn’t particularly developed in Poland. Individual contacts between organizations are of course maintained (examples include such organizations as PILnet), but organized collective activities to improve access to justice in concert with foreign colleagues are few and far between. For instance, the rule of law crisis, which continues to have an impact on access to justice in Poland, has incentivized the legal professions in a number of countries to establish closer links with Polish professional associations in collaboration to reverse the negative changes.


The state of access to justice in Poland could be described with the following adage: whilst it is difficult to fix, it is difficult to break. On the one hand, last decades have seen progress in provision of access in many fields and aspects. Establishment of the out-of-court advice system and the continued activity of many independent providers are clearly indications of progress. On the other hand, provision of free representation is insufficient and organized according to outdated principles both in the ideological and practical sense. Therefore at its core the system remains incomplete, poorly designed, and badly coordinated. This negatively affects access to justice contributing to the considerable justice gap. Still, despite these imperfections, access to justice initiatives in Poland persist, thrive and remain resilient despite all odds.

The fields that demand most reform are clearly public legal education, secondary legal aid, and utilization of modern technology. This should include establishment of well organized, accountable, and competent public institutions to coordinate efforts for access to justice and promote evidence-based solutions.

This necessity also demonstrates the sources for the current deficits. The reasons for imperfect development of access to justice mechanisms in Poland’s democratic time until 2015 seem to be the insufficient quality of public administration, which clearly was unable to recognize the gravity of the matter and properly address it. It follows that in order to transform access to justice mechanisms in such a way as to meet the justice needs emerging in a democratic system with a market economy, much effort needs to be put in developing strong and healthy public institutions.


[1]              The authors would like to thank Adriana Bartnik for providing some statistical data needed to complete this report.

[2]              Statistics Poland, Demographic Yearbook of Poland, Warsaw 2019.

[3]              Statistics Poland, Struktura narodowo-etniczna, językowa i wyznaniowa ludności Polski, Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludności i Mieszkań 2011, [Ethnic, national and religious structure of inhabitants of Poland. National Census 2011]. Warszawa 2015.

[4]              UNDR, Human Development Reports, Country Profile: Poland, http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/POL, Last accessed: 29/01/2020.

[5]              IMF, World Economic and Financial Surveys, World Economic Outlook Database, https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2019/01/weodata/index.aspx, Last accessed: 29/01/2020.

[6]              Calculation based on data in A. Siemaszko, P. Ostaszewski, J. Włodarczyk-Madejska, Tendencje wpływu spraw do polskich sądów powszechnych [Inflow tendencies in Polish common courts], IWS Warszawa, 2019, p. 12.

[7]               Wydział Statystycznej Informacji Zarządczej,  Departament strategii i funduszy europejskich. Ewidencja spraw według działów prawa i instancyjności  w roku 2018 [Case flow statistics by area of law and instance in 2018], https://isws.ms.gov.pl/pl/baza-statystyczna/opracowania-jednoroczne/rok-2018/download,3787,0.html, last accessed 1/03/2020.

[8]              Official data obtained from Ministry of Justice in response to public information request by Adriana Bartnik.

[9]              See Urgent interim opinion on the bill amending the act on the organization of common courts, the act on the supreme court and certain other acts of Poland (as of 20 December 2019), OSCE, Warsaw, 14 January 2020, Opinion-Nr.: JUD-POL/365/2019 [AlC], available at: https://www.osce.org/odihr/443731?download=true, last accessed 14/02/2020; Poland joint urgent opinion of the Venice Commission and the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule Of Law (DGI) of the Council of Europe on amendments to the law on the common courts, the law on the supreme court, and some other laws, Strasbourg, 16 January 2020, opinion No. 977/2019, available at: https://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?pdf=CDL-PI(2020)002-e), last accessed 14/02/2020.

[10]            J. Winczorek, Stan kadry sędziowskiej w świetle badań przeprowadzonych przez Krajową Radę Sądownictwa [The current state of judicial staff in the light of an empirical study executed by the National Council of the Judiciary]. Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa. Kwartalnik. 2(19)/2013, p. 30.

[11]            Statistics Poland. Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2009, Warsaw 2009, Statistics Poland. Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2019, Warsaw  2019.

[12]            See: A. Klepczyński, P. Kładoczny, K. Wiśniewska, Tymczasowe aresztowanie. (Nie)tymczasowy problem. Analiza aktualnej praktyki zatrzymania i tymczasowego aresztowania. [Temporary detention, a (non)temporary problem. Analysis of current practice of detention on remand], HFHR, Warszawa 2019.

[13]            Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości. Centralny Zarząd Służby Więziennej. Roczna informacja statystyczna 2019 [Statistical yearbook of the Main Office of Prison Service] Warszawa 2019. https://www.sw.gov.pl/strona/statystyka-roczna, Last accessed: 30/3/2020.

[14]            A. Klepczyński, P. Kładoczny, K. Wiśniewska, Tymczasowe… p. 13.

[15]            ECHR judgement of 7 July 2015 in re Rutkowski and others v. Poland

[16]            J. Winczorek, Dostęp do prawa. Ujęcie socjologiczne [Access to justice. A sociological approach] Warszawa 2019, p. 323-324.

[17]            UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Concluding observations on the initial report of Poland, October 2018, p. 6.

[18]            B. Siemieniako. Reprywatyzując Polskę. Historia wielkiego przekrętu. [Reprivatising Poland. The story of a grand scam]. Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej 2017.

[19]            Reproduced from: Wydział Statystycznej Informacji Zarządczej, Departament Strategii i Funduszy Europejskich Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości, Postępowanie mediacyjne w świetle danych statystycznych. Sądy rejonowe i okręgowe 2006-2018 oraz w I półroczu 2019 roku [Mediation procedure in the light of statistics. Regional and district courts, 2006-2018 and 1st half of 2019] , Warszawa 2019, p. 2.

[20]            A. Jakubiak-Mirończuk, M. Stachura, Alternatywne i polubowne sposoby rozstrzygania sporów na gruncie przepisów Kodeksu postępowania cywilnego [Alternative and amicable dispute resolution in Code of Civil Procedure], Instytut Wymiaru Sprawiedliwości, Warszawa 2017, p. 13.

[21]            Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (Regulation on consumer ODR).

[22]            OCCP, Sprawozdanie z działalności Inspekcji Handlowej jako podmiotu ADR za rok 2018 [Report of activity of Trade Inspection in 2018], Warszawa 2019.

[23]            Cf. J. Kurczewski, K. Frieske, “The Social Conciliatory Commissions in Poland’, in M. Cappelletti and J. Weisner (eds), Access to Justice: Promising Institutions. Milan 1978,  pp. 153–27.

[24]            Prokuratura Krajowa, Sprawozdanie z działalności powszechnych jednostek organizacyjnych prokuratury w sprawach karnych za rok 2019 [Report on the activity of branches of Prosecutor Office in criminal matters], Warszawa 2020. https://pk.gov.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/PK-P1K.pdf, last accessed 31/03/2020.

[25]            Supreme Audit Office, Pozasądowe dochodzenie roszczeń przez pacjentów. Informacja o wynikach kontroli [Extrajudicial redress for patients. Information on evaluation results]. Warszawa 2018.

[26]            Departament Strategii i Deregulacji Ministerstwa Sprawiedliwości, Strategia systemu wymiaru sprawiedliwości na lata 2014-2020 [Strategy of the justice system in the years 2014-2020], Warszawa 2013.

[27]            A. Tomaszek. “Od przysługi do profesji. Kształtowanie się zawodu pełnomocnika procesowego w dawnej Polsce [From courtesy to profession. The shaping of the professional representation in the old Poland]”  Palestra 9/2014, pp. 258–272.

[28]            Cf. opinions of the Venice Commission: https://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?country=23&year=all, last accessed 14/02/2020.

[29]            Results on file with the authors.

[30]            Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości, Departament Strategii i Funduszy Europejskich, Wydział Nieodpłatnej Pomocy Prawnej i Poradnictwa Obywatelskiego, Analiza statystyczna działania punktów nieodpłatnej pomocy prawnej oraz nieodpłatnego poradnictwa obywatelskiego w pierwszej połowie 2019 roku [Statistical analysis of the operation of offices of free legal advice and free civic advice] Warszawa 2019, p. 88.

[31]            Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości,  Departament Strategii i Funduszy Europejskich Wydział Nieodpłatnej Pomocy Prawnej i Poradnictwa Obywatelskiego. Analiza statystyczna działania punktów nieodpłatnej pomocy prawnej oraz nieodpłatnego poradnictwa obywatelskiego w pierwszej połowie 2019 roku [Statistical analysis of the activity of free legal advice and ciitzens advice offices in the first thalf of 2019]. Warszawa, 15 listopada 2019 roku.

[32]            Waldemar Florczak, Szacunki kosztów nieformalnego systemu pomocy prawno-obywatelskiej, [Cost estimates of the informal civic and legal advice system] Wiadomości Statystyczne 3/2017, pp. 68-85.

[33]            They may, however, authorize advocate/legal adviser trainees to handle some cases.

[34]            OJ L 297, 4.11.2016, p. 1–8.

[35]            OJ L 294, 6.11.2013, p. 1–12.

[36]            Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości, Departament Strategii i Funduszy Europejskich, Wydział Nieodpłatnej Pomocy Prawnej i Poradnictwa Obywatelskiego, Analiza statystyczna działania punktów….Warszawa 2019, p. 32

[37]            Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości, Departament Strategii i Funduszy Europejskich, Wydział Nieodpłatnej Pomocy Prawnej i Poradnictwa Obywatelskiego, Analiza….  p. 12-14

[38]            The data does not sum up to 100% because a single episode of advice could consist of a number of services.

[39]            Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości, Departament Strategii i Funduszy Europejskich, Wydział Nieodpłatnej Pomocy Prawnej i Poradnictwa Obywatelskiego, Analiza….  p. 10

[40]            Cf. the Supreme Court cases I CZ 26/87 and III SPP 11/05.

[41]            Ministry of Justice – reports of activity of the out-of-court advice system for the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 (1st half) on file with the authors.

[42]            Until 2019, refusals were more common, yet due to the technique of regulation they were not disputed. In the law of the time, a number of categories of persons entitled to obtain advice was listed, designed with ease of verification at mind, rather than any specific policy of access to justice. As a result, a person willing to obtain advice had to provide a relevant official document confirming his/her legal status. No case of a court dispute over access to out-of-court aid is known.


[43]            Data prior to 2012 is not available due to abolishment in 2009 of the hitherto system of collecting information on ex-officio cases in common courts, based on attorney self-reporting. In the years 2009-2011 data was not being collected, since 2012 it is gathered using the court reporting mechanism.

[44]            Statistics 2019, January 2020, https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Stats_analysis_2019_ENG.pdf.

[45]            Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego, Quarterly Bulletin. Insurance Market IV/2019. Part D: Statistical Statement KNF-02. Domestic Insurance Companies. Warszawa 2020.

[46]            Source: J. Winczorek, Dostęp do prawa. Ujęcie socjologiczme, Scholar, Warszawa 2019, p. 279 with subsequent additions, using data from reports by aid providers.

[47]            Change is calculated as change in averages for the two years preceding and following introduction of legal aid scheme in 2016.

[48]            The number refers to both legal aid and other specialist service

[49]            The data refers to academic years, not calendar years, respectively: 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017.

[50]            Authority overseeing consumer rights in financial markets.

[51]            Including 11612 motions from the insurance market and 341 – financial market. In the latter the Financial Inspector started its activity on 11 October 2015 r.

[52]            In 2014 and 2015 there were 25 offices in the network, in 2016 – 19, in 2017 – 17.

[53]            Authority protecting market competition and consumer rights.

[54]            „Number of phone calls received”.

[55]            In 2016 funding reduced by 30% compared to 2015 and 2017.

[56]            J. Winczorek, Dostęp…. p. 279.

[57]            Regulation (EC) No. 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of 12 December 2006 creating a European order for payment procedure (O J L 399, 30.12.2006, p. 1, as amended).

[58]            Regulation (EC) No. 861/2007 of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 July 2007 establishing European Small Claims Procedure (OJ L 199, 31.07.2007, p. 1, as amended).

[59]            UKE, Badanie opinii publicznej w zakresie funkcjonowania rynku usług telekomunikacyjnych oraz preferencji konsumentów Raport z badania klientów indywidualnych [A public opinion survey on the functioning of the telecom market and consumer preferences. Report on customers]. Warszawa-Gdańsk 2018.

[60]            Statistics Poland, Information society in Poland. Results of statistical surveys in the years 2014-2018, Warsaw-Szczecin 2018.

[61]            Discussion in: J. Winczorek, Dostęp do prawa. Ujęcie socjologiczne [Access to justice. A sociological approach] Warszawa 2019.

[62]            J. Winczorek, Dostęp… p. 174.

[63]            J. Winczorek, K. Muszyński, Access to justice in small and medium enterprises. An empirical report. Warszawa 2019, http://ddp.wpia.uw.edu.pl/DDP_report_EN.pdf, last accessed 1/04/2020.