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Potential of Precedent in the Statutory Legal Order

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Edited By Leszek Leszczyński, Bartosz Liżewski and Adam Szot

This book is devoted to various aspects of the potential of precedent as a legal category and the precedential practice as an element of the law in statutory legal orders. It presents a complex approach to the problems involved in precedential practice, including its theoretical consideration and generalization of the practical use of prior judicial decisions as precedents (based on the observation of Polish and European judicial practice) as well as comparative and prospective remarks dealing with the role of precedents in the statutory law order.

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Ireneusz Nowikowski: The Problem of Precedents in the Criminal Judgements of the Polish Supreme Court

The Problem of Precedents in the Criminal Judgements of the Polish Supreme Court

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Ireneusz Nowikowski

Abstract: This study is the result of research on the criminal case law of the Polish Supreme Court. At the beginning, the position of the literature on the notion of “precedent decision” and “law-making decisions” is presented and the views of the doctrine of criminal procedural law concerning the issue of admissibility of a precedent are quoted. The subject of the research are judgments from different periods of the Polish judicial system development (1972–1973, 2002–2003, 2012–2013). The aim of the research is to answer the question whether the concept of precedent is used in the justification of criminal law judgments of the Supreme Court and for what reasons the Supreme Court referred to earlier decisions.

Keywords: precedent, criminal procedural law, Polish criminal process, the judgements of the Criminal and Military Chamber of the Supreme Court

The following reflections result from research on the judgements of the Criminal and Military Chamber of the Supreme Court referring to the use of the term “precedent” in the judgements of that court and the practice of quoting earlier judgements by the Supreme Court. Before the results of the research are presented, it should be discussed whether a precedent is treated as a source of law in the criminal law in its broad meaning.

Analysing the importance of court judgements in the light of the above presented question two situations should be first indicated. The first would be connected with distinguishing “precedent...

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