The Institute of Justice of Warsaw is a state organisational unit subordinate to the Minister of Justice. The Institute performs scientific and research activities in the area of lawmaking and the application, axiology and social operation of law. It also studies the phenomena of crime and social pathology.
The Institute was established in 1990 through the merger of two separate research centres – the Ministry of Justice’s Institute for Judicial Law Research and the Institute for Crime Studies at the Prosecutor General’s Office.
After the organisational reform of 2009, introduced by the Order of the Minister of Justice of 10 March 2009 (MJ Official Journal of 27 March 2009), the Institute obtained the status of a state organisational unit performing scientific and research activities.
Currently, the operations of the Institute are regulated by selected provisions of the Research Institutes Act of 30 April (cf. Art. 66 RIA, J.L. No. 96, item 618 as amended), applied mutatis mutandis, and by the Institute’s Charter bestowed by the Minister of Justice in the order of 9 September 2016.
Pursuant to s. 3 of the Charter, the Institute conducts studies of lawmaking and the application, axiology and social operation of law as well as the phenomena of crime and social pathology. The Institute disseminates the results of these studies and engages in legal education. Areas of the Institute’s research include, in particular: the functioning of legal institutions in the practice of the justice system; the effectiveness of legal protection bodies, legal axiology and the professional ethics of legal professions; the role of jurisprudence and grounds for its performance; the system, organisation and functioning of justice bodies, also against the background of social environment; the causes and conditions of violations of law; the size, structure and dynamics of crime and other pathological phenomena and behaviour; the enforcement of legal sanctions and social rehabilitation of offenders; interdisciplinary and comparative studies of the historical development of institutions of Polish law, including those of Polish law’s conformity with the norms and standards of international and EU law. In order to disseminate the results of its studies, the Institute is authorised to organise domestic and international conferences, seminars and engage in publishing and documentation activities.
The Institute’s research work is based on annual or multi-annual research plans that cover subjects proposed by the Minister of Justice. In accordance with s. 5 (2) of the Charter, the Institute also responds to unscheduled, urgent requests of the Minister.
In conducting its research, the Institute of Justice extensively uses scientific studies of case files of judicial and prosecutorial proceedings, reviewing ca. 10,000 files each year. This significant involvement in case file research distinguishes the Institute from other Polish legal research organisations. The Institute also conducts legal and comparative analyses, compiles statistical and economic reports and performs survey studies. More than 400 papers and 70 books have been written by the staff of the Institute’s five sections (Section of Criminal Law and Process, Section of Civil Law and Process, Section of Family Law, Section of Economic Studies of the Justice System and Section of Fundamental Rights).
As part of its official business, the Institute works with courts, other justice bodies and the National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution. The Institute engages in international cooperation, taking part in international research programmes implemented by such bodies as the European Commission, Eurostat and the Council of Europe.
The results of studies conducted at the Institute of Justice are presented during cyclical conferences and at many seminars.
The results are also published in writing in three series of books: the “green” series includes monographs covering the widely defined civil law, the “red” series comprises works on criminal law and procedure, while publications in the “blue” series, issued in the period preceding Poland’s access to the EU, are devoted to the adaptation of Polish law to EU legal standards.
The Institute also issues its quarterly, Prawo w działaniu (Law in Action), which primarily features reports on studies of judicial practices relating to civil and criminal law.