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The Warsaw Voice » Law » April 2, 2008
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April 2, 2008   
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Talking Legalese

An academic conference called Law and Language will be held April 11 at the Auditorium of the Old Warsaw University Library at 26/28 Krakowskie Przedmie¶cie St. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The conference has been organized by the Association of Graduates of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw (UW) and Lingua iuris, an international scientific and cultural group devoted to legal and legislative language. The conference will include discussions entitled Law and Language-Theory, Law and Language in the Era of Globalization and Law and Language-Future Challenges. Participants will be able to take part in the Second Nationwide Legal Spelling Test and slug it out to become Legal Spelling Champion.

For more information, go to www.konferencje.wpia.uw.edu.pl

Easier Entry for Eastern Neighbors

Ukrainian citizens who live close to the border with Poland will no longer be required to hold Polish visas to travel here.

The Polish interior ministry has prepared a draft amendment to the law on foreigners to facilitate small cross-border traffic for citizens of the closest neighbors of Poland that are not members of the European Union. Under the amendment, entry into Poland will be possible with special permission instead of a visa.

Before Poland joined the Schengen Area, the country and its neighbors had bilateral agreements on small cross-border traffic and the agreements were subject to national law only. Now such agreements must comply with a directive of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe from Dec. 20, 2006. The directive allows bilateral agreements on small cross-border traffic that specify the rules under which citizens of third countries can cross borders.

So far, Poland has signed a preliminary agreement with Ukraine that allows 1.5 million people who live in Ukraine in a 50-kilometer zone along the border and 800,000 people in Poland to cross the border without visas if they have special permission. Application forms for permission to cross the border in small cross-border traffic have to be submitted with photos and a confirmation of permanent residency in the border zone. The permission, issued and annulled by consuls, will state the duration of the stay in Poland. Annulment will be possible if a visitor unlawfully prolongs his or her stay in Poland or travels beyond the border zone.

Poland is expected to make similar agreements with Russia and Belarus.

Emergency Calls: Poland on Probation

The European Commission has put on hold plan to take Poland to the European Court of Justice over the 112 European emergency number. The decision by Brussels to suspend proceedings it opened against Poland in 2006 came after Warsaw agreed to temporarily provide rescue services with access to information on calls made from cell phones to the emergency number. The European Commission wants to check, however, how well the system will work. In January, the Polish parliament passed an amendment to the telecommunications law to help identify the location of cell phone users calling 112. One of the main goals of the amendment, which is to come into effect Aug. 1, is to set up a system to gather and share data.

The system to determine the whereabouts of callers is still unavailable in five EU member states: the Netherlands, Slovakia, Lithuania, Romania and Italy. Cell phone users also have trouble reaching 112 in Bulgaria, while Latvia has recently made its system fully operational.

Commercial Courts Under Scrutiny

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has started an evaluation of the work of Polish courts dealing with business disputes. It will present its findings and recommendations to the justice ministry. From April to June, 25 law students will observe proceedings in courts across Poland. They will not evaluate the validity of judgments passed by the courts, but will focus on how the courts guarantee the right to a fair hearing. This includes the manner in which hearings are conducted and the quality of service that court officials provide. The Helsinki Foundation will compile a report and publish its findings in the fall.

EU Clears Way for Free Trade

The European Parliament has passed a package of laws to improve market supervision and remove technical barriers to imports. This removes a final obstacle to a free movement of goods in the European Union. Günter Verheugen, vice-president of the European Commission, said this is the most important set of laws passed during his term, even more important than the liberalization of the single market. The new laws apply to goods that are not covered by common market regulations.

PPP Center in the Works

A center for public-private partnerships (PPP) will soon open in Poland in a joint project by business people and the government. The center, which will be similar to counterparts in other European countries such as Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic, will work out standards for contracts and procedures and propose changes to laws regulating PPP agreements.
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