Over the past 12 months there has been a breakdown in Poland’s adherence to the right of public hearing of court proceedings. The Court Watch Polska Foundation and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights’ own research brings the evidence that mentioned restrictions have effected three-quarters of the courts in Poland.
These measures hinder or prevent NGOs, civic organizations and movements from carrying out their statutory activities (e.g. monitoring proceedings, providing support to parties), as well as lowering the standard of court proceedings in which they or their representatives take part. The restrictions also have no statutory basis and contradict the principles expressed in the Polish Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (OHCHR).
The aim of the project is to counteract the above problems by monitoring the creation and application the regulation of the right to the public hearing before a court, through advocacy (to protect against adverse changes to the law) and promotion of the right to a public trial among organizations and citizens.
The outcomes of the project will be: lower chance of entering into force of regulations limiting the openness of courts during and after the pandemic, smaller scale of formal and informal restrictions on activists to access the courts, greater public awareness and scale of civic control over proceedings; higher level of security of civic org. & activists.
The project will produce: 2 monitoring reports presented at 2 hybrid conferences in Warsaw (2022 and 2023) for representatives of the NGO sector and civic movements, judges and court employees, politicians and journalists, 5 mini-reportages, radio spots, a register of irregularities, an informal coalition of NGOs and civic movements promoting the right to court proceedings being public, a series of webinars.