Godło RP

Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 29 August - 4 September 2017

Newsletter 29 August – 4 September 2017

MAIN MATTERS

Conference The judicial system: an evolution or a revolution?

- In the judges’ minds, there has been a revolution. We are citizens ourselves, and other citizens have trusted us. We can see the need for a change, also in ourselves. Excessive routine and unjust treatment of citizens do more harm to us than any TV programmes can do. We have a difficult time ahead of us, so let’s make use of the thoughts discussed here, said judge Irena Kamińska, president of the Themis Association of Judges, while closing the conference. There will be a real revolution if judges across the country, in all the 281 cities, pay off their debt to the citizens, added CHR Adam Bodnar. In this way he referred to the social protests that took place in July when citizens objected to the proposed changes in the judicial system.

The scientific conference entitled The judicial system: an evolution or a revolution? was organized by the Themis Association of Judges and the Commissioner for Human Rights. The event was held at the University of Warsaw and gathered nearly 200 participants: lawyers, judges, scientists and students [more details and a video of the conference].

As regards the judicial system reform, persons most trusted by Poles are President Andrzej Duda, Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar and Prime Minister Beata Szydło, according to the latest CBOS survey conducted in mid-August [more].

The CHR: the 95-year-old insurgent will not lose his social benefits as a result of the Act on retirement benefits for persons serving in the state uniformed services and intelligence services under the former political system. But what about other similar cases?

A 95-year-old Warsaw uprising insurgent wrote to the Commissioner for Human Rights in fear of losing his social benefits as a result of the Act on retirement benefits for persons serving in the state uniformed services and intelligence services under the former political system. The person had once worked for the former Ministry of Internal Affairs. After the matter was made public, the Ministry of Interior and Administration verified his documents and stated he was not covered by the Act’s provisions. However, the CHR Office still receives many complaints from citizens who are in a similar situation as the 95-year-old insurgent and whose benefits have been cancelled [more].

On 7 September in Kraków, an information meeting on loans in Swiss francs was held [the CHR issued an easy-to-understand guidance booklet for persons at different stages of proceedings relating to such loans. The booklet helps to determine what further steps should be taken].

THE COMMISSIONER ON CITIZENS’ ISSUES

Before the beginning of the school year, the CHR inquired the Ministry of Education about the use of the internet and new technologies by pupils at schools [more]. The Commissioner also wanted to find out why the new curriculum contains so little information about human rights [more].

Expert Seminar on access to the system of justice for persons with disabilities

Approximately 80-90 thousand Polish citizens are unable to access courts, says the report developed for the Commissioner on access to the system of justice by persons with disabilities. At the CHR Office, an expert seminar was held in which representatives of the system of justice, ministries and non-governmental organizations discussed the changes required in the system [more].

After the Commissioner’s intervention, several dozen owners of holiday cottages will get a refund of unduly charged waste collection fees

The fees were charged from inhabitants of a municipality in the Pomorskie Voivodeship. An administrative court issued a judgement on the case. The CHR filed an appeal with the Municipal Appeal Board in Gdańsk against the administrative decisions to charge the fees. As a result, persons who have paid the undue fees may now claim their refund [more].

A fine for letting a dog walk freely on a pile of sand to be spread on pavements? The Regional Administrative Court has agreed with the Commissioner

The case concerns an inhabitant of Częstochowa. The City Council has introduced too restrictive rules for walking dogs. The Regional Administrative Court in Gliwice took into account the CHR’s argumentation [more].

Why is it useful to contact the CHR Office’s local customer service points?

The CHR Office’s lawyer in Kielce was visited by a man who complained of problems with road safety and road traffic system within one of the city’s residential areas. He raised the need to change the traffic lights system and to prohibit parking on one side of the roads within the area. After the CHR’s intervention, the municipal authorities are considering the introduction of the changes [more].

LEGISLATION

The Minister of Development and Finance replied to the CHR’s inquiry regarding the possibility to block Internet content under the provisions of the Act on Gambling. However, the response does not fully answer the Commissioner’s concerns regarding proportionality and adequacy of the introduced solutions [more].

Failure to provide access to the toilet to a customer at a bank’s branch office may be considered a violation of the customer’s personal rights: an interpretation of the Supreme Court’s judgement [more].

VAT on e-books: a commentary on the Court of Justice’s judgement [more].

THE CHRONICLE

Krzysztof Olkowicz’s new responsibilities at the CHR Office since 1 September [more].

Apprenticeship in the CHR Office teaches empathy, conclude the law students [more]