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CONCLUSION OF AGREEMENTS AND ADOPTION OF STATUTES REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 25(5) OF POLAND'S CONSTITUTION (Zawieranie umow i uchwalanie ustaw, o ktorych mowa w art. 25 ust. 5 Konstytucji RP)

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The Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2 April establishes in Article 25 (4) and (5) the model of bilateral (i.e. individual and wholly consensual) shaping of relations between the State and churches). Article 25(5) provides that the relations between the State and non-Catholic denominations are determined by statutes adopted pursuant to agreements concluded between their appropriate representatives and the government. In the author's view, the constitutional legislator intentionally refers to a private- law instrument of agreement which is inherently linked to some principles, including autonomy of will and freedom of contract. Consequently, parties are not required to negotiate and to conclude an agreement. An agreement does not constitute a source of universally binding law, but is only an obligatory element of the pre-legislative procedure which confirms that partial competence to create norms is conferred on religious denominations. The agreement provides a basis for a statute concerning relations with a religious organization, however both act does not have to be identical. The Constitution does not contain any substantial restrictions concerning the right to initiate legislation. Based on the requirement for any such statute to be adopted following the conclusion of an agreement, the author claims that the Sejm and the Senate may modify the content of ‘denomination' statute with the consent of a religious organization (differences of the legislative procedure). Withdrawal of consent by the latter (inadmissibility of an amendment) is allowed with some restrictions. The same procedure is applied to amend a particular law. Adoption of a number of statutes concerning one religious organization is allowed, as well as adoption of one statute concerning a number of religious organizations. The lack of detailed provisions in the rules of procedure of both chambers of parliament does not prevent the ‘denomination' statute from being adopted. This is the consequence of the principle of direct effect of the Constitution.
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  • Marcin Olszowka, Instytut Nauk Prawnych PAN, 00-330 Warszawa, ul. Nowy Swiat 72
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