Abstract 22:79-97

Burdziej, Stanisław (2013) Transparency, Publicity, Authority: Informal Constraints on the Principle of Publicity of Proceedings in the Polish Court Practice. „Profilaktyka Społeczna i Resocjalizacja” 22: 79-97.



Although in principle the Polish Constitution guarantees the publicity of court proceedings, the public access to the courtroom, apart from formal constraints (closing of hearings to the public in justified circumstances), is blocked by several informal practices. These informal constraints have become one of the main topics of an extensive study carried out in 2010–2012 on the sample of more than 9,000 court hearings in district and regional courts, in cooperation with Court Watch Poland Foundation. In our opinion, the reason for the persistence of such constraints lies in a specific approach of the practictioners of justice to its legitimacy and in a somewhat vicious circle which is activated and petrified by the lack of interest among the public in justice administration. Moreover, it is hypothesized that those practices undermine the trust of Poles in the justice system, while today, the court authority is dependent, more than before, on the treatment granted to citizens, on transparency and communication skills of the judge.



publicity, civic control, judiciary, legitimacy