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Abstract

This article deals with Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS), considered a conservative party in the scholarly literature. Drawing largely on party manifestos, the article demonstrates the character, the specificities and the evolution of the party’s identity and ideology. A theoretical basis for the undertaking is provided by Klaus von Beyme’s concept of party families, Arend Lijphart’s seven ideological dimensions and classic texts on conservatism. The analysis finds that the most important components in PiS’s current identity are Catholicism itself and the great emphasis the party places on the role of the Catholic Church. Also important for the party’s identity are visions of a nation conceived on ethnic principle, a strong and active state able to form society with a national spirit, anti-communism and a negation of developments in Poland since 1989. A substantial role is played by the quasi-religiously conceived legacy of the party’s co-founder, Lech Kaczyński, who tragically perished in an aircraft crash. With its Catholic-nationalist profile, PiS is close to the Christian current within the conservative New Right, and to Polish National Democracy in the interwar period.

Abstract

Rarely do twins play active and significant roles in politics. Yet in 2006 President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, designated his twin brother Jarosław to be prime minister. The aim of the current publication is to analyse the political activity of Lech and Jarosław Kaczyński in the context of the founding of PiS and its functioning. Their position inside the party is undisputed. Moreover, as there is no opposition inside the party and Jarosław Kaczyński achieves spectacular electoral results, his legitimisation as autonomous leader of the party is strengthened even further.

Abstract

This paper employs the 2010 Polish presidential election as a case study to explore the implications of memory politics, examining the Law and Justice party’s (PiS) use of national memory ahead of the June election. Through process tracing, this paper finds that the Smolensk Air Crash became the central theme of this race, which pitted Civic Platform (PO) candidate Bronisław Komorowski against the late President Lech Kaczynski’s twin brother, PiS’s Jarosław Kaczynski. Amplified by the media, PiS selectively drew on easily recognisable events and figures from Polish history to construct an “Us versus Them” conflict of “true Polish patriots” - those who supported the party and its anti-Russian stance - and “Others” - those who, although sympathetic to the crash victims, favoured Tusk and his push for renewed Polish-Russian relations. The primary goal of this paper is to demonstrate how a historical memory approach can inform the study of contemporary politics - a subject which is too oft en left solely to social scientists.

Abstract

Poland has recently experienced a constitutional crisis. The crisis involves the role of the Law and Justice Party (PiS) in the election of judges and amendments to the Constitutional Tribunal Act which threatens the independence of the Tribunal. The situation is exacerbated by changes in the media, civil service, police, and prosecution laws introduced by the ruling party. This article analyses the changes, as well as the domestic and international reactions to the crisis, and considers whether the heavy criticism of the PiS is justified, or whether it results from, for instance, specific characteristics of the Polish political system and an unfavourable opinion in Europe about the Law and Justice party.

Abstract

A quarter of a century ago, the Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War ended. Now the current political era involves a broad challenge to liberal democracy in the European Union. Central European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Poland, and the Slovak Republic (‘the Visegrád Group’) joined the EU in 2004 with the hope that the post-Cold War era would be one of peace and stability in Europe, including (most importantly) the expansion of Europe’s democracy. A turning point came in 2014, however, when the Syrian refugee crisis hit the EU and caused a political ‘about face’. The European refugee and migrant crisis have strengthened right-wing populism among the European countries, including the Visegrád group. Obviously there are certainly similarities between the populist rhetoric of Hungary’s ruling party, Fidesz, and the Law and Justice party (known as PiS) which is governing the Republic of Poland. The two countries appear to be following the same path of becoming ‘illiberal democratic’ states. The templates of authoritarianism which both countries have adopted involve the following: the restriction of civil society and the independence of the media, control of the judiciary and the court system, together with the transformation of the constitutional framework and electoral law in order to consolidate power. This paper analyses two examples of authoritarian populist leaders: first, Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary of the Fidesz Party and, second, Jarosław Kaczyński, a leader of the Law and Justice Party (PiS) in Poland. A brief description of each is provided as a background for the discussion which follows.

Abstract

This lecture given at Birmingham City University School of Law, March 21, 2019 considers the origins of the right to silence in the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the United States and compares the constitutional protections against self-incrimination with those of the United Kingdom. It notes that the effect of the changes introduced by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 is that there is now a fundamental divergence in approach between the two jurisdictions and concludes that as the twenty first century progresses, defendants on both sides of the Atlantic will be less likely to exercise their rights without consequence and then when they do choose to speak it will be at their peril.

ABSTRACT

Fourteenth century England experienced social changes which influenced the attitude to crown law and triggered a growing distrust to law and its representatives. The progressing development of the gentry complicated the defining of offences, and diversified the means of punishing them. The Tale of Gamelyn presents a conflict between two brothers, sons of a knight, which went beyond the confinements of the household, transforming itself into a conflict between law and justice. Their feud is a cross-complaint concerning land, which soon turns into a spiral of violence in which one brother uses law to control and punish, and the other uses crime and violence to achieve justice. Using Donald Black’s theory of the sociological geometry of violence (2004) and of crime as social control (1983), this article will analyze the law in the tale as a tool of social control represented by Johan, and justice acquired with the use of self-help by Gamelyn. The article will attempt to prove that the story presents a complex relation between justice and law pinned across the varied spectrum of social classes, which Gamelyn changes a number of times, and will argue that the tale is an affirmation of violence as an underlying force of both law and justice, differing in presentation and realization according to social class.

Abstract

This study offers a discussion of the dangers to the stability of political systems in consolidated democracies posed by contemporary populism, with a particular focus on the dynamic development of extreme right-wing populism. The author considers the consequences of efficient populist campaigns, such as Brexit in Great Britain, lowered trust towards the United States under Trump’s administration and practices followed by the Law and Justice party (PiS) under the leadership of Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland, which seem especially destructive for liberal democracy. Further examples are those of Hungary and Turkey, where the political systems have eroded into semi-consolidated democracy in the case of the former and an authoritarian system in the latter case. A comparative analysis of freedom indices indicates some dangers related to de-consolidation of the democratic system in Poland. Furthermore, the study points out dangers arising from the transformation of soft populism, understood as communication rhetoric oriented towards the concentration of power in the hands of populist leaders, which clearly paves the way for the dismantling of consolidated democracy in favour of an authoritarian system. The conclusions of the study outlines a variety of actions which can be undertaken to protect the achievements of liberal democracy.

, Lumina Lex Publishing, Bucharest, 2001 5. S. Murgu, N. M. Stoicu, Constitutional law and political institutions, Cordial Lex Publishing, Cluj-Napoca, 2007, p.184 and seq.; 6. S. Murgu, N.M. Stoicu, State of law and justice in the acceptation of the Council of Europe, in the volume “Dimensions of culture and legal practice”, Dacia Publishing, Cluj-Napoca, 2010, p. 182-190 7. P. Palcu, Tactical considerations on preparation, stages and technical means of fixing crime scene investigation, Arad Universtity Press Publishing, 2004 8. E. Stancu, works cited, p 213, Bucharest

References (alphabetical order) CORRIAS, Luigi. The Passivity of Law – Competence and Constitution in the European Court of Justice. London, Springer, 2011 COUTINHO, Luis, Pereira, LA TORRE, SMITH, D. Steven. Judicial Activism – An Interdisciplinary Approach to the American and European Experience. Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice 44, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, 2014 DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE OF KOSOVO. Election of President by People: Necessity of time or common rhetoric. July, 2015 ELGIE, Robert. The President of Ireland