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New changes to Criminal Code Proceedings in Poland

Published: Monday, October 28, 2019

By Dr. Robert Lewandowski, attorney at law (radca prawny)  from the legal firm DLP Dr Robert Lewandowski & Partners sp. k. 

The Polish legislator has recently proposed new changes to  Polish Criminal Code Proceedings which were approved by the Polish Parliament on 19th July 2019 and the aim of the these new changes is directed to facilitate and speed up  public criminal trials,  to counter any measures delaying their course and to bring Polish law in line with European Union regulations and requirements. 

Importantly under the new changes delivery of a summons, notifications and any other statements subject to time bar limits made by an procedural authority can also be in some cases provided through website of the criminal court or public prosecutor’s office.  In general, a motion of collecting  new evidence can by rejected if the party (defendant) represented by counsel was informed about the deadline for its submission and failed to meet the deadline on time, unless the circumstances to be proven and subject to such a motion are of significance  for instance as to whether or not a crime was committed. In addition, Articles 3.3 and 20.c) of the Directive 2012/29/EU subject to the rights of victims during investigation of a crime were also implemented during new changes stating that a victim of an investigated crime is informed on his/her request about the end of investigation by simple letter or email. 

The provisions regulating trials before a criminal court of the first instance were also amended lifting excessive formalism. This applies in particular to deviation from the principal of proximity in some cases for instance in situation in which the relevance and the nature of certain evidence is not questioned by the parties to the trial, for instance in the event of  a crowbar being used  to commit a burglary confirmed by the defendant as a criminal tool. In this situation renewed  introduction of this crime tool into the trial for its viewing and examination by the parties should be acknowledged as unnecessary. Furthermore, the legislator bearing in mind a speedy trial has decided that a trial can be interrupted by a maximum of 42 (forty two) days and this rule is certainly vital within complicated and comprehensive criminal cases in which the observance of deadlines has a tremendous impact on the length of proceedings. 

Furthermore, the new changes also concern the rules of appellate procedure which have been specified, tightened and tailored to the principal of focusing on taking evidence within the trail before the court of first instance and of focusing on basically reviewing the legal ruling by the trial judges and not interfering with their factual findings. 

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