Prof. dr hab. Hanna Paluszkiewicz
University of Zielona Góra
English abstract: This study aims at presenting conceptual category named “public interest” under the Polish procedural criminal law. The concept of “public interest”, which is the subject of this analysis, is treated as an indefinite term, functioning as a general clause, whose the task of which is to render a legal text more “flexible” by referring to a set of values outside of the system.
The term “public interest” is no longer used in the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The legislator still uses many other general clauses, including the “social interest” clause. The analysis of cases in which this clause is used shows that, in fact, these two conceptual categories may not be equated, should not be used interchangeably, and are not synonymous. Although the term “public interest” is no longer a statutory term under the Code of Criminal Procedure, given the fact that it expresses values such as respect for the law and the rule of law, it should be assumed that by proper shaping of the criminal trial model and ensuring that entities performing the role of public interest advocates participate in it, these values are – at least potentially – protected. State prosecutors, in their capacity of public interest advocates and in order to properly discharge their duty to uphold the rule of law, should maintain organizational independence and procedural impartiality.
Keywords: procedural criminal law, general clause, public interest, public interest advocate, social interest advocate, state prosecutor
Published: Number 3(24)/2020, pp. 93-104.
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