Judgment concerning Poland

Human Rights building in the spring

In the case of Wałęsa v. Poland the Court held that there had been a violation of the right to a fair hearing and a violation of the right to respect for private and family life.

The case concerned a civil suit taken by the applicant against a former friend and associate who had accused him publicly of collaboration with the secret services under the communist regime. Although he had won the case, the final judgment in his favour had been overturned, nine years later, by the Chamber of Extraordinary Review and Public Affairs following an extraordinary appeal by the Prosecutor General.

The Court found that the Chamber of Extraordinary Review and Public Affairs, which had examined the extraordinary appeal, was not an “independent and impartial tribunal established by law” and held that the extraordinary appeal had been incompatible with the rule of law, and notably with the principles of legal certainty, res judicata and foreseeability of the law. Identifying that these violations originated in interrelated systemic problems connected with the malfunctioning of national legislation and practice, the Court called for urgent remedial measures.

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