An Argument from Comparative Law in the Jurisprudence of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal1
PDF (Język Polski)


constitutional law
the Constitutional Tribunal
constitutional adjudication
comparative law

How to Cite

Paprocka, A. (2018). An Argument from Comparative Law in the Jurisprudence of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal1. Przegląd Prawniczy Uniwersytetu Im. Adam Mickiewicza, 8, 237–248.


The use of references to foreign law and jurisprudence by the constitutional courts around the world currently gains more and more attention from scholars. The admis-sibility and usefulness of conducting such a horizontal dialogue between various juris-dictions raises controversies in other countries, but not in Poland, where no significant academic discussion on the legal basis and justification for using comparative arguments in constitutional jurisprudence has been conducted. The reasons for this lack of contro-versy seem to lie in the roots of the 1997 Constitution, and the way in which the Polish legal system is constructed. The Polish Constitutional Tribunal is quite prone to using comparative references in its reasoning. However, it rarely clearly indicated their role or significance for the resolution of the case before it. The analysis of the case-law of the Tribunal indicates that references to foreign law concern constitutional provisions, legislation, and the judgments of other constitutional courts. The purpose of the refer-ences stresses the universality of particular constitutional norms and deciphering their meaning, as well as gathering data significant for the assessment of the proportionality of a national law, as well as at drawing inspiration from the decisions taken by foreign courts. However, the persuasive use of a comparative argument demands that the meth-odological problems which can be noticed in the case-law should be addressed. They in-volve in particular: the need to justify the choice of comparative material that is analysed, the fragmented nature of the analysis, and the lack of a clear indication what role these kind of arguments have in constitutional argumentation.
PDF (Język Polski)


A conversation between U.S. Supreme Court justices. The relevance of foreign legal materials in U.S. constitutional cases: A conversation between Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen Breyer, “International Journal of Constitutional Law” 2005, no 4.

Benvenisti E., Reclaming Democracy: The Strategic Uses if Foreign and International Law by National Courts, “The American Journal of International Law” 2008.

Blum L.J., Mixed Signals: The limited Role of Comparative Analysis in Constitutional Adjudication, “San Diego Law Review” 2002, no. 1.

Bobek M., Comparative Reasoning in European Supreme Courts, Oxford 2013.

Breyer S., The Court and the World. American Law and the Global Realities, New York 2016.

Brzeziński M.F., Garlicki L., Judicial Review in Post-communist Poland: the Emergence of a Rechtsstaat?, “Stanford Journal of International Law” 1995, no. 1,

Canale D., Comparative Reasoning in Legal Adjudication, “Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence” 2015, no. 1.

Choudhry S., Globalization in Search of Justification: Toward a Theory of Comparative Constitutional Interpretation, “Indiana Law Review”1999, no. 3.

Choudhry S., Migration as a new metaphor in comparative constitutional law, in The Mi-gration of Constitutional Ideas, ed. S. Choudhry, Cambridge 2006.

Frankenberg G., Critical Comparison: Re-thinking Comparative Law, “Harvard Interna-tional Law Journal” 1985, no. 2.

Garlicki L., Cooperation of courts: The role of supranational jurisdictions in Europe, “Inter-national Journal of Constitutional Law” 2008, no 3–4.

Garlicki L., Ochrona praw jednostki w XXI w. (globalizacja – standardy lokalne – dia-log między sądami), in 25 lat transformacji ustrojowej w Polsce i Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej, ed. E. Gdulewicz, W. Orłowski, S. Patyra, Lublin 2015.

Grzelak A., Choosing between two Evils: the Polish Ombudsman’s Dilemma, VerfBlog, 06.05.2018, [access: 01.08.2018].

Halmai G., Perspectives on Global Constitutionalism. The Use of Foreign and International Law, The Hague 2014.

Halmai G., Separation of Power – Social Rights – Judicial Review The Polish and the Hungarian Cases, in Constitution-making Process, ed. M. Wyrzykowski, Warszawa 1998. Halmai G., The use of foreign law in constitutional interpretation, in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law, ed. M. Rosenfeld, A. Sajó, Oxford 2012.

Jackson V., Constitutional Comparisons: Convergence, Resistance, Engagement, “Harvard Law Review” 2005.

Laskowska M., Taborowski M., Obowiązek wykładni przyjaznej prawu Unii Europejskiej – między otwartością na proces integracji a ochroną tożsamości konstytucyjnej, in Prawo Unii Europejskiej a prawo konstytucyjne państw członkowskich, ed. S. Dudzik, N. Półtorak, Warszawa 2013.

Łętowska E., Zapewnienie skuteczności orzeczeniom sądów międzynarodowych, “Europejski Przegląd Sądowy” 2010, no. 10.

Ludwikowski R.R., Constitutional Culture of the New East-Central European Democracies, in Constitutional Cultures, ed. M. Wyrzykowski, Warszawa 2000

Mak E., Judicial Decision-Making in a Globalised World. A Comparative Analysis of the Changing Practices of Western Highest Courts, Oxford–Portland 2015.

Matczak M., Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal under PiS control descends into legal chaos, VerfBlog, 2017/1/11, [access: 01.08.2018].

Osiatyński W., Paradoxes of constitutional borrowing, “International Journal of Constitu-tional Law” 2003, no. 2.

Paprocka A., Wpływ orzecznictwa ETPCz na rozumienie konstytucyjnych praw i wolności w Polsce – kilka uwag na marginesie orzecznictwa Trybunału Konstytucyjnego, in XV lat obowiązywania Konstytucji z 1997 r. Księga jubileuszowa dedykowana Zdzisławowi Jaroszowi, ed. M. Zubik, Warszawa 2012.

Prokop K., Polish Constitutional Law, Bialystok 2011.

Reitz J.C., How to Do Comparative Law, “American Journal of Comparative Law” 1998, no. 4, p. 620 et seq.

Rosenfeld M., Comparative Constitutional Analysis in United States Adjudication and Scholarship, in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law, ed. M. Rosenfeld, A. Sajó,Oxford 2012.

Rosenkrantz C.F., Against borrowings and other nonauthorative uses of foreign law, “International Journal of Constitutional Law” 2003, no. 2.

Sadurski W., ‘Solange, chapter 3’: Constitutional Courts in Central Europe – Democracy –European Union, “European Law Journal” 2007.

Sadurski W., Constitutionalism and the Enlargement of Europe, Oxford, 2012. Śledzińska-Simon A., Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal under Siege, VerfBlog, 04.12.2015, [access:01.08.2018].

The Use of Foreign Precedents by Constitutional Judges, ed. T, Groppi, M.C. Ponthoreau, Oxford–Portland 2013.

Tushnet M., Some reflections on method in comparative constitutional law, in The Migration of Constitutional Ideas, ed. S. Choudhry, Cambridge 2006.

Wendel M., Comparative Reasoning and the Making of a Common Constitutional Law – The Europe-Decisions of National Constitutional Courts in a Transnational Perspective, “NYU Jean Monnet Working Paper 2013” no. 25.

Zumbansen P., Comparative Law’s Coming of Age? Twenty Years after Critical Comparison, “German Law Journal” 2005, no. 7.