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Supreme Court of Poland

The Supreme Court building, Warsaw
Herb Polski.svg
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The Supreme Court (Polish: Sąd Najwyższy) is the highest court in the Republic of Poland. It is located in the Krasiński Square, Warsaw.


The Supreme Court supervises the adjudication in:

  • General courts: these are district, regional, and appeal courts. They adjudicate in the areas of civil, criminal, family and labour law.
  • Military courts: these are circuit and garrison courts. They deal with matters relating to crimes committed by soldiers in active service, civilian employees in military units, and prisoners of war.

The Supreme Court is the court of last resort of appeal against judgements in the lower courts. It also passes resolutions to clarify specific legal provisions and resolve disputable questions in specific cases. These however are not (at least technically) legally binding.

Appointment of judges

The President of the Republic of Poland appoints Supreme Court judges for an indefinite period. This is done upon a motion of the National Council of the Judiciary. The President also selects the First President of the court from candidates presented by the General Assembly of the Supreme Court. The First President holds office for a six-year term, though he or she may be dismissed by the Sejm upon a motion by the President of the Republic of Poland if found convicted of a crime.

In July 2018 a new law came into force which lowers the mandatory retirement age from 70 to 65. The introduction of this law is contested and the constitutionality of the law is being assessed. Critics have argued the law is aimed at removing non-pliant judges and installing PiS-led government appointees.

List of First Presidents of the Supreme Court

  • Stanisław Pomian-Srzednicki (1 September 1917 – 28 February 1922)
  • Franciszek Nowodworski (1 March 1922 – 3 August 1924)
  • Władysław Seyd (22 September 1924 – 17 January 1929)
  • Leon Supiński (17 January 1929 – 1 September 1939)
  • Wacław Barcikowski (26 January 1945 – 12 November 1956)
  • Jan Wasilkowski (12 December 1956 – 22 May 1967)
  • Zbigniew Resich (23 May 1967 – 21 January 1972)
  • Jerzy Bafia (21 January 1972 – 1 April 1976)
  • Włodzimierz Berutowicz (1 April 1976 – 14 May 1987)
  • Adam Łopatka (14 May 1987 – 30 June 1990)
  • Adam Strzembosz (1 July 1990 – 17 October 1998)
  • Lech Gardocki (17 October 1998 – 18 October 2010)
  • Stanisław Dąbrowski (19 October 2010 – 9 January 2014)
  • Lech Krzysztof Paprzycki (9 January 2014 – 30 April 2014, acting)
  • Małgorzata Gersdorf (30 April 2014 – present)
  • Jozef Iwulski (4 July 2018 – 20 July 2018, acting - appointed by President Duda following forced retirement of Gersdorf; installed as 'Acting' First President. Iwulski rejected the appointment and insisted he was only acting under the behalf of Gersdorf during her absence.)

See also


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