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2011 | 1(102) | 11-25

Article title

THE ISSUES OF ADMINISTRATION IN THE MARCH CONSTITUTION: REMARKS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ENACTMENT OF THE CONSTITITION OF 17 MARCH 1921 (Zagadnienia administracji w Konstytucji marcowej. Uwagi z okazji 90. rocznicy uchwalenia Ko


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: The ninetieth anniversary of the enactment of Poland's first constitution in the post-partition period provides an occasion to reflect on its importance and to make assessments, regarding particularly its provisions concerning government and self-government administration. These issues have not been yet fully addressed by research into the system of law and government of the Second Republic. The constitution provided for a form of government based on the principle of broad territorial self-government and delegation on the representative bodies of that self-government of appropriate legislative powers, especially in the field of administration, culture and economy, within the scope to be specified by statute (Article 3 para. 4). For administrative purposes, the Polish State would have to be divided into voivodships (regions), counties, and urban and rural municipalities which at the same time would have to be the units of territorial self-government. Those units would create unions in order to accomplish tasks which belong to the scope of their responsibilities (Article 65). The administration of the State would have to be organized on the principle of decentralization, organs of state administration in the individual territorial units being joined in one official body under one superior, and on the principle that within the limits determined by statutes, citizens elected for this purpose should participate in the discharge of the duties of such official bodies (Article 66). The right of determining affairs belonging to the domain of self- government was rested with elected councils. The constitution provided that, in addition to territorial self-government, economic self-government would be created, by a separate statute, for the individual fields of economic life (Article 68); and granted autonomous and self-governing rights to national minorities (Article 109) and to churches and religious communities recognized by the State (Articles 113-115). However, the above-mentioned constitutional principles had not been fully applied. Some of them turned to be only a declaration and proposal, which could not be implemented, in the circumstances of political life and in the course of work on the amendment of the constitution (started in the mid 1920s) and, then, on the draft of a new constitution of 1935. It was not until 1928 that the local administration was unified and not until 1933 that territorial self-government was reformed. It had not been able to adopt statutory principles for changing territorial administrative division, and the provisional measures (existing in the time of adoption of the constitution) had been maintained. The proposal for a multi-stage system of administrative courts, envisaged in the constitution, had never been carried out, as it was only possible to establish a Supreme Administrative Court... The March (1921) Constitution, as a symbol of Poland's regained independence, has proved to be less durable in relation to its underpinning values than in the sphere of institutional solutions. Those values have been frequently referred to in the course of recent systemic transformations, and many ideas contained therein might found in current legislative provisions.





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  • Dorota Malec, Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Wydzial Prawa i Administracji, ul. Golebia 9, 31-007 Krakow, Poland


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Publication order reference


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