CANCELLED: Towards a Democratic Jurisprudence? Lessons from Poland

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In keeping with policy directions on managing COVID-19, we regretfully cancel this event.

We look forward to reconvening the seminar series when the virus situation has been resolved.

31 March 2020 at UNSW Law, Sydney

Presenter: Wojciech Zomerski (PhD candidate, University of Wrocław, Poland)*

Until 2015, Poland was seen as a model example of transformation from authoritarian real socialism to liberal democracy. This changed in 2015, when Law and Justice won elections, started its march through institutions that have distorted the checks and balances system and generated a constitutional crisis. From the best pupil in the Central Eastern European class Poland started to be seen along with Hungary as its black sheep.

The emergence of this constitutional crisis has been identified as a sign of failure to implement democratic institutions. The alternative approach to any crisis, however, is to perceive it as a chance. I argue that the constitutional crisis reveals weaknesses of autonomous law and opens up a chance for a transition from autonomous to responsive law (Nonet, Selznick Law and Society in Transition: Toward Responsive Law). Thus, I argue that there is an urgent need for a democratic jurisprudence that – by making law capable of discriminating and selective adaptation to the social surroundings – would defuse tension between law and politics and protect the former from its subordination to the latter. In this sense democratic jurisprudence is a kind of particular jurisprudence that struggles over delivering a proper image of law in democratic governance, an image that serves the integrity of the political community and thus aims at achieving the ideal of responsive law.

The aim of my paper is to propose an outline of such an image of law and to consider a range of educational reforms that implementation of this image would eventually require.

(A copy of Mr Zomerski’s working paper will be available for pre-reading closer to the date of the event.)

The event is free but registration is important to secure your seat.

Our project is co-hosting this talk with the Network for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law.

*Wojciech Zomerski is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law of the University of Wrocław, Poland, affiliated as a young researcher at the Centre for Legal Education and Social Theory of the University of Wrocław. His doctoral thesis project concerns the role of legal science and legal education in a democratic society. He has participated in a number of international conferences, and has published articles about legal education, critical theory of law and human rights. Mr Zomerski was previously an exchange student at the Law Faculty of the University of Salzburg and at the College of Law of Loyola University of New Orleans, and also a visiting researcher at the Department of Sociology of Law of Lund University. He is a practising lawyer.