Freedom of association: The case in Poland

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Cyuńczyk, Filip
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School of Law, University College Cork
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The concept of freedom of association appeared in the Polish legal system together with the regaining of its independence in 1918 and the enactment of its first modern constitution two and a half years later. However, due to the historical perturbations suffered by Poland between the establishment of the Second Republic and its accession to the supranational structures of the European Union in 2004, the ‘long duration’ of the concrete provisions of the law was not possible. From the creeping change of the regime before the Second World War, embodied in the 1935 constitution, through the periods of war and occupation, Stalinist totalitarianism and the successive authoritarian governments under Moscow's curatorship, the freedom (or right) of association was influenced by subsequent ideologies and the systems of value brought by them. Nevertheless, the adoption of the liberal-democratic Constitution in 1997 provided its contemporary character typical of that system of government. This does not mean, however, that historical experience has not resulted in the formation of local peculiarities related to freedom of association. It appears, among other things, with a pervasive system of statutory provisions and profound constitutional regulation. I would like to discuss these specificities in this paper by presenting, in part two, a historical outline (2.1). Further, the current legal status shall be addressed. Both the constitutional layer (part 2.2) and the specific laws operationalising this freedom will be analysed. More specifically, I will present selected provisions of the Law on Associations (part 2.2.1), the Act on Political Parties (2.2.2) and the Act on Trade Unions (2.2.3). The third part will deal with the role of the judicial system. Both in terms of its impact on legal reality (3.1) and given the specific responsibilities imposed by the legislature in the laws already mentioned (3.2). In the fourth part of this text, I will discuss the prospects and challenges that reality creates for freedom of association in Poland. The main aim of this text is to familiarise the reader with the key institutions that guarantee and operationalise freedom of association in Poland and the local specifics of understanding this freedom.
Freedom of association , Poland
Cyuńczyk, F. (2024) 'Freedom of association: The case in Poland', Societās Working Paper 16/2024 (17pp). Cork: School of Law, University College Cork.
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© 2024, the Author. Views expressed do not represent the views of the Societās project or the School of Law at UCC.