Procedural law, case II GSK 1206/10

April 6th, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 29 November 2011 case file II GSK 1206/10 held that the provisions of Article 45(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland provide that everyone should have the right to a fair and public hearing of his or her case, without undue delay, before a competent, impartial and independent court. These provisions include the principle that every court should decide a case without undue delay. This rule is also reflected, among others in the provisions of Article 7 the Polish Act of 30 August 2002 on Proceedings Before Administrative Courts – PBAC – (in Polish: Prawo o postępowaniu przed sądami administracyjnymi), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 153, item 1270 with subsequent amendments, that the administrative court should undertake activities aimed at the rapid settlement of the matter of each case and seek to settle the case at the first hearing. In light of these provisions it should be clearly stated, however, that the principle of the speed of court proceedings is not a rule that could be given precedence over the right of the party to defend its rights and personal participation in the hearing, if the legislature included the possibility to postpone the hearing in specific situations. In this case, the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw improperly assessed the evidence that gave the reason to postpone of the hearing, which resulted in a breach of the right of parties to participate in the hearing and personal defense of their rights in legal proceedings. In consequence, the SAC ruled that there was a reason to decide on the nullity of proceedings.