Freedom of assembly between rationing and expression: post-transformational law in Poland

Freedom of assembly, as belonging to a sphere of fundamental political rights and freedoms, creates the basis for the functioning of a democratic society. This era has begun for the Polish citizens in 1990, with establishing the new statute on the assembly. Nowadays, the given freedom of assembly is detailed in the provisions of ordinary laws, headed by the 2015 statute on assemblies introducing the types of assemblies (assemblies, cyclical assemblies, spontaneous assemblies). The paper aims to indicate the basic mechanisms that determine the legal institution of assemblies in its evolution since 1990. We also hope to deliver some answers to the question about the balance between rationing limits and a need for expression, especially in view of contemporary challenges.

Horizons of freedom in the political world. On the freedom of the state, assembly, and speech in the context of Niccolò Machiavelli's republicanism.

The research subject of the paper will be freedom as a value of the political world. The research question will be whether freedom is possible only limited by the horizons of institutions, and is freedom inextricably linked with the political world? Considerations on this subject will relate to Machiavelli's republican concepts. He referred to the tradition of the republican thought of antiquity and such thinkers as Aristotle, who defined politics as the action of free people in the public sphere. This freedom is the possibility of expressing different opinions, thanks to which the diversity becomes a whole. Referring to Aristotle, Machiavelli pointed out that the republic is the rule of the free people over the free people and emphasized that in the interest of power, it protects freedom because it is the source of its strength. Thus, civil freedom determines the power and freedom of the state.

Contemporary Issues of Freedom of Assembly in Hungary

In January 1989, well before the transition, the Hungarian Parliament adopted the Act on free assembly. This right became the symbol of transition; it provides the civil society have their voice. The presentation considers the role of freedom of assembly in society in present days. It first gives an overview on the evaluation of the right, including the challenges of 2006 and the new law in 2018. Secondly, it evaluates the recent issues of constitutional jurisprudence and analyse the difference between the old and the new laws. Thirdly, the pandemic caused a great challenge to freedom of assembly; the presentation evaluates the legislation and the constitutional court’s decision.

Freedom of assembly in the constitutional Congress Poland

Polish elites in the first half of the 19th century commonly presented the constitution of the Kingdom of Poland octroyed by Russian emperor-Polish king Alexander as the most liberal constitution of Europe directly after 1815. On the one hand, this was due to the relatively broad powers of parliament and the independence of the judiciary, on the other hand, the constitutional catalogue of civil rights and liberties. Among them, freedom of assembly was not mentioned. However, the constitution, referring to the old Polish tradition, guaranteed a significant political role for sejmiks and communal assemblies. Thus, the issue of freedom of association was considered in the context of the freedom of institutionalized political assemblies, which performed not only constitutional functions but also constituted forums for public debate.

The right to assembly in Poland between 1920-1981 – legal provisions and administration practice. Few remarks on the usefulness of historical research for present-day constitutional law.

The purpose of the presentation is an attempt to answer the question fundamental for both legal historians and constitutionalists: should present research on concrete human right in a concrete system take into account national/local traditions on the matter? The author tries to look closer at polish acts on the right to assembly enacted in Poland 1922/1932 as well as during the communist era in 1962. The main task is to analyse the texts but also their practical application. The author will present results of archival searches on files revealing the process of organization of assemblies, gaining permission, scope, and supervision. He will especially attempt to assess the possible use of their results for a deeper understanding of contemporary law. Territorially, the research is devoted to smaller communities in Kujawy-Pomorze region (west-northern Poland) selected because of the high overall social culture, influence of German law and distance to the political centre of the country.