In connection with the need to take measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease in Poland, legislators applied legal mechanisms available, which provide for the introduction, through secondary legislation, of a number of restrictions upon rights and freedoms. The purpose of this paper is to seek an answer to an important constitutional question, namely to determine whether the measures introduced by public authorities in Poland with the aim to prevent, counteract and combat COVID-19 were conformant with the constitutionally accepted standards or not? Were they based on due legal grounds? Were they necessary and proportional?
The victories of the political camp of the right wing in successive parliamentary elections in 2015 and 2019 unexpectedly brought about a completely new approach to the institutions, processes, and procedures and political phenomena in Poland. Relatively quickly, it became apparent that the new majority had decided to undermine the standards which had been accepted to date in the democratic world, including the rule of law. Ignoring the foundations of democracy also affected parliament and its legislative process. As a result, the functions of the parliament and the role of the opposition were de facto weakened, without taking into account the rights of minorities universally respected and thus far unquestionably recognized in a well-established democracy.
“Legislative accommodation” makes it possible to establish extraordinary limitations on freedoms and rights that formally have the “normal” democratic legitimacy, since the state of emergency has not been introduced and the “normal” constitutional means of legislative regulation have been employed. However, it would appear that the Polish case is not so much about legislative accommodation as it is about “accommodation through regulations”. In the cases discussed, the statutory basis for restrictions does not meet the conditions for a detailed and substantive settlement of the regulated issue. General and imprecise statutory norms are clarified in regulations, which should serve as strictly implementing acts. This may lead to the conclusion that there has been a certain disruption in the development of the Polish constitutional identity.
This paper deals with the problem of the changing of the Polish tax law during the coronavirus pandemic. The authors present the problems involved in the functioning of taxpayers, the tax administration and administrative courts, and the legal solution to these problems. In the opinion of the authors, the changes in tax law related to the epidemic are temporary. The only lasting effect will be the acceleration of the computerization of the tax administration and the contact between taxpayers and the tax administration.
Between March and May 2020, the legislator adopted emergency legislative measures designed to “shield” business operators from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addressing the matter of social insurance contributions payments, the legislator did not use the then-existing legal framework and introduced new solutions, hitherto unknown to the social insurance system. This paper presents the law enacted to serve as relief measures related to the payment of contributions. The paper also includes a critical analysis of the new measures and a proposal of a model legislative reform in this area.
The paper is part of a general discussion on balancing the conflicting interests and finding the right solutions that, on the one hand, could avoid too much interference with the principle of the market economy, and in particular the principle of freedom of business conduct and, on the other hand, could appropriately protect, the supreme values, such as human life and health.