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The Warsaw Voice » Law » July 1, 2009
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Law in brief
July 1, 2009   
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Standard Fines for EU Drivers
In three years drivers who commit road offenses will pay the same fines across the European Union, under a new directive being drafted by the European Commission. If adopted, the directive will require all EU member states to use a single EU tariff of fines for road offenses.

Initially, the tariff would only cover the most dangerous and most common offenses, such as running a red light, speeding, drunk driving, driving without seatbelts, and carrying a child without a proper seat.

The single system of fines will require the development of a special computer system to connect the registers of drivers and vehicles kept by individual member states. When such a system is in place French police, for example, will be able to easily identify a Polish car in France and vice versa.

The idea to introduce the single EU system of fines is waiting for approval by the European Parliament and the European Council.

Program for Offenders Praised
A Polish rehabilitation program for prison inmates under which they work in hospices and nursing homes as volunteers has won the Crystal Scales of Justice award from the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

The judges selected the Polish program from among 30 projects submitted by various European countries.

The Polish rehabilitation program has been carried out since the 1990s. Under it, inmates who have permission from court and prison authorities work as volunteers in nursing homes and hospices, taking care of the elderly and children.

This form of rehabilitation has received positive reviews from psychologists.

Trauma Centers Planned
Some of Poland's hospitals will set up special trauma centers to treat patients injured in accidents, under legislation approved by the government June 16.

Under the proposal, "dedicated trauma teams" working together with the ambulance service will be established across the country. Their task will be to provide fast diagnosis and treatment for patients with severe multi-organ injuries, especially those whose life is in danger as a result of an accident.

Trauma patients will receive comprehensive care in a single hospital. The care will be provided by a team of doctors specializing in various branches of medicine. To begin with, from 10 to 12 trauma centers will be established around the country.

Army Goes Professional
Conscription, military training for students and graduates in peacetime and other forms of compulsory military service will end in Poland beginning Jan. 1, 2010, under a new bill approved by the government. The bill is part of a process of turning the country's armed forces into a fully professional force.

Doctor Errors Under Scrutiny
Patients will find it easier to sue doctors for medical errors if a piece of legislation recently approved by the government comes into force.

Under the legislation, patients would be able to appeal decisions issued by a doctors' court before a general court.

Proceedings before a doctors' court would be open but the patient's right to confidentiality would be respected.

Award for Lawyers
The Chajec, Don-Siemion & Żyto Law Firm has won its second award in The Best Law Firm competition. The firm picked up a Silver Award statuette June 18 at an award ceremony in Paris. Last year, Chajec, Don-Siemion & Żyto won the Best Law Firm 2008 title in the Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Practice category.

The best independent law firms in over 20 countries take part in the annual International Legal Alliance Summit and Awards. The Best Law Firm winners are selected by 100 judges, members of law firms and senior managerial staff.

Beata Gołębiewska-Chęciak
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