Jak nas widzą. Polski system prawny – Part II

Opublikowany dnia 31 Paź. 2016

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Nicholas Gowland – australian law student

Another aspect of the Polish legal system I envy is the simplicity of its court hierarchies. In the Polish system, a normal case may be heard in Regional Courts, District Courts, Appeal Courts and/or the Supreme Court. However Australia, like the United States of America, is a federal political system made up of a number of semi-independent states, each with their own government and legal system, which are subject to a superior federal government and federal legal system. This creates a complicated chain of inferior and superior courts. For example, in my home state of New South Wales, a case which begins in the Local Court of New South Wales might successfully make its way through the state District Court and Supreme Court, both of which have jurisdiction to hear appeals, and then to the Federal Court, the Federal Appeal Court, and perhaps even to the High Court of Australia. In addition, we have separate courts and tribunals to hear on issues such as family law, administrative appeals, and land and environment matters. However, one advantage our system has over the Polish judicial system is that we do not have separate courts to hear Constitutional and political matters. Therefore, a case involving a politician, civil or criminal claims, and constitutional issues can all be dealt with in the same case.

Another interesting difference I have noted during my time in Poland is the difference between Polish and Australian courtrooms. Although both Australian and Polish court rooms require formal etiquette, I believe that Australian courtrooms are slightly more formal. Australians are known throughout the world for our relaxed and informal personalities, Australian courts are still incredibly conservative and formal. Our lawyers and judges wear robes similar to the colour-coded Polish judicial robes, however many Poles find it incredible to learn that some Australian barristers and judges also still wear horse-hair wigs to court, although this practice is on the decline (especially among women). Furthermore, Judges of all levels in Australia are addressed as “Your Honour”, and all parties are expected to rise from their seat when a judge enters or exits the courtroom, and bow to the judge when they themselves enter and exit. Polish readers might also be interested to learn that, even though Australia is independent from the British monarchy for all practical purposes, the prosecuting party in Australian criminal cases is still known as “the Crown”. Furthermore, compared to the architecture of a Polish courtroom, the judge’s bench in Australia is far more elevated and further away from the plaintiff and defendant. This distance between the judge and the parties is designed to reinforce the judge’s superiority and authority over the competing parties.