Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 54: Poland

Micha_ Gondek


Poland has a civil law system. Major parts of its civil, penal and procedural law have been codified in respective codes. With the exception of the communist period, the Polish legal system has remained under the strong influence of both French and German legal traditions, although it would now be qualified as belonging to the family of former communist countries. At present, although the spirit of the Code Napoléon has not vanished completely from Polish civil law, still being noticeable for example in property law or the law of civil responsibility, the system has moved closer to the German legal family: the Civil Code of 1964 has a general part and is drafted in a rather abstract manner. The Commercial Companies Code of 2000 is also strongly influenced by German company law. The sole official language in Poland is Polish. It is the language in which all laws and case law are printed and which is used in all court proceedings. The law on national minorities allows ‘supplementary use’ of minority languages in administrative proceedings in localities inhabited mainly by national and ethnic minorities. Considering that such minorities form only around 3 per cent of the country’s population, this has very limited significance in practice.

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