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The Warsaw Voice » Law » February 25, 2011
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Law in brief
February 25, 2011   
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Court Decisions Go Online
The Ministry of Justice is introducing a requirement whereby courts will have to publish their decisions on the internet. This is under a piece of legislation that aims to amend the rules governing the work of Poland’s courts. The legislation is at a stage of interministerial consultations, the justice ministry said.

Judgments by courts of appeal and district courts are scheduled to appear online by the middle of next year. The president of each court of appeal will be responsible for launching a special database.

In the future, rulings issued by regional courts may also be available online. Court decisions will be posted on the internet after the removal of personal data. The justice ministry also plans to unify the websites of individual courts.

Changes in Banking Law Planned
The Ministry of Finance has drafted legislation to amend banking law in a bid to facilitate the conversion of subsidiaries of foreign banks into domestic banks. In this way, subsidiaries of foreign banks will be made subject to Polish financial supervision, officials say. The plan to transform subsidiaries of foreign banks into domestic banks is especially important in the case of those foreign bank subsidiaries that have won a major share of the Polish market, according to the ministry. Such institutions may generate a significant risk for both the parent organization and the Polish financial market, the ministry said.

Blue Line to Curb Domestic Violence
Victims of domestic violence can count on greater assistance from the government under an agreement on the prevention of domestic violence signed in November by three institutions, the State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems, the Ministry of Justice and the National Police Headquarters.

Under the agreement, officials working for the emergency Blue Line program run by the State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems and commissioned the Ministry of Health, will gain more powers. They will be able to intervene if an individual convicted of domestic violence continues to abuse their family. Such officials will be able to contact the police in the area where the victim of domestic violence and the perpetrator live. They will also keep in touch with the probation officer supervising the offender. Blue Line officials will monitor the process of police intervention and will also be able to request a court to order that an individual with a suspended prison sentence serve their time or that an offender convicted of domestic violence is denied the right to conditional early release from prison.

DNA Tests for Soldiers
Every soldier being sent on a military mission abroad will have to undergo genetic tests following a decision by the defense minister dated Dec. 23 on selected healthcare benefits available to professional soldiers. According to officials, cytogenetic tests will make it possible to quickly assess tissue compatibility if a transplant is needed for a wounded soldier. The procedure will also ensure the creation of a biometric profile for each soldier, enable quick and reliable identification of dead and wounded soldiers.

The new regulations also define the scope of psychological tests for soldiers being sent to serve abroad.

No Entry for Uninsured
Foreign nationals requiring visas to enter Poland will be denied a Polish visa if they fail to prove that they will have a health insurance policy during their stay in this country, under a new piece of legislation passed by the parliament Dec. 3, 2010 to amend the Aliens Act. The new regulations have already taken effect. They adapt Polish standards in this area to a resolution by the European Parliament and the Council establishing a Community Code on Visas.

The new regulations impose a health insurance obligation on foreigners seeking admission to Poland. This may be travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros, valid throughout the period of the applicant’s intended stay in Poland. The insurance policy must cover all expenses needed to ensure the person’s return home for medical reasons, emergency medical assistance, emergency hospital treatment or expenses in the event of death.

Seasonal workers from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Moldova and Georgia—who account for a particularly large group of foreigners arriving in Poland every year—will not be required to have an insurance policy. This is because they are covered by health insurance on account of their employment.

Internet Access Map
Under new regulations that aim to promote wider internet access in Poland, the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) will have to keep track of the expansion of telecommunications infrastructure nationwide and draw up and update maps of areas with access to the internet. This requirement brings Polish regulations in line with European Union standards. The map will be revised at least once a year. The new regulations require state institutions, local government and businesspeople dealing with telecommunications to provide the UKE with data needed to make the map.
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