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2009 | 5(94) | 91-110

Article title

SIGNIFICANCE OF EVIDENT GROUNDLESSNESS FOR THE PROTECTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS (Znaczenie przeslanki oczywistej bezzasadnosci dla dostepnosci skargi konstytucyjnej jako srodka ochrony konstytucyjnych wolnosci i praw)

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To initiate proceedings concerning a constitutional complaint before the Constitutional Tribunal, the procedural requirements specified in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and the Constitutional Tribunal Act must be satisfied. The complaint is subject to preliminary proceedings before a bench of one judge of the Tribunal. The requirements for examination of admissibility of a constitutional complaint are mostly of formal character. Evident groundlessness is the only substantive requirement. As concerns this requirement, the Tribunal assesses the essence of a complaint for its grounds, examining whether the claims alleged by the complainant argue for violation of his/her constitutional rights and freedoms by an unconstitutional regulation. If, in a given case, the Tribunal finds there to be a qualified form of groundlessness of the submitted complaint, it will decide to refuse to proceed with further action. In preliminary proceedings, substantive examination is an exception. The main purpose of these proceedings is to check whether the conditions for admissibility of application are satisfied, but not to assess the grounds for the claim of unconstitutionality of the contested regulation. Evident groundlessness is an underdetermined notion and its content is derived in the process of application of law. In the view of the Tribunal, a complaint may be found evidently groundless, when claims against contested regulation - alleged in the complaint - do not give any credence to its unconstitutionality. The possibility (provided by the lawmaker) of substantive examination of grounds of a complaint, at the preliminary stage, has an exceptional character and should be given restrictive interpretation. Any doubts on whether the complaint is evidently groundless, should argue for its consideration in regular proceedings, consisting in full examination of constitutionality. The practice based on the opposite assumption could deprive constitutional complaint of its significant role of a remedy for constitutional rights and freedoms.





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  • Jaroslaw Sulkowski, Uniwersytet Lódzki, Wydzial Prawa i Administracji, ul. Narutowicza 59a, 90-131 Lódz, Poland


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Publication order reference


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