Impediments to public consultations in the Polish local self-government


  • Marcin Pomaranski Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin



public consultations, self-government in Poland, direct democracy


The aim of this paper is a comparative analysis of legislative solutions and practical application of the public consultations in the Polish local government after 1989. The legal changes that occurred during this period have guaranteed Polish citizens the tool to direct exercising the political power. Unfortunately, the lack of legislative precision in the use of mechanisms of civic participation in Poland is characteristic of public consultation. Despite the fact that this solution has been used by public administration since the political-system transformation and the passing of the Act on Gmina Self-Government of 1990, and that in 1997 the consultations as a form of the exercise of power by the citizens were also established in the Constitution, for the first two decades there was a fairly great freedom of interpretation in holding them, which the local self-government authorities widely used. Positive changes in the practice of using the mechanisms of public consultation in Poland, including the formulation of the widely accepted set of guidelines and practical advice concerning the manner of implementing these mechanisms, began to take place only in the last four to five years. Main thesis of the paper is the opinion that public consultations in the example of the Polish self-government despite nearly three decades of legislative and political experiences are still not an effective tool of direct democracy, but only a bureaucratic facade.


CELIŃSKI, A. et al. Raport końcowy z badań efektywności mechanizmów konsultacji społecznych. Warszawa: Pracownia Badań i Innowacji Społecznych Stocznia, 2011.

CELIŃSKI, A. et al. Wyimki z raportu końcowego badania efektywności mechanizmów konsultacji społecznych. Warszawa: Pracownia Badań i Innowacji Społecznych Stocznia, 2011.

COLEMAN, S. In Dialogue – Some observations on a new platform for local government online consultations. In The project inDialogue website, 2015 [online]. Available at <>. [q. 2018-09-20].

KRASZEWSKI, D. MOJKOWSKI, K. Budżet obywatelski w Polsce. Warszawa: Fundacja im. Stefana Batorego, 2014.

MAKOWSKI, G. Konsultacje publiczne – uregulowania prawne a praktyka. In Infos. Zagadnienia społeczno-gospodarcze. Vol. 20 (2014).

PRZYBYLSKA, A. inDialogue software for the good quality of public consultations. The model for action. In The project inDialogue website, 2017 [online]. Available at <>. [q. 2018-09-20].

Resolution on ‘Lubelskie Voivodship Local Self-Government Program of Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations and Other Entities Carrying Out Public Benefit Activities in 2018’ of 7th December 2017. Law Item 4906 (2017).

Siedem zasad konsultacji społecznych. In Kanon Lokalnych Konsultacji Społecznych [online]. Available at . [q. 2018-09-21].

The Act on Commune Self-Government of 8th March 1990. Law No. 16, Item 95 (1990). DOI:

The Act on County Self-Government of 5th June 1998. Law No. 91, Item 578 (1998).

The Act on Public Benet and Volunteer Work of 24th April 2003. Law No. 96, Item 873 (2003).

The Act on Public Consultation and Referendum of 6th May 1987. Law No. 14, Item 83 (1987).

The Act on Sharing Information about the Environment and its Protection, Public Participation in Environmental Protection and Environmental Impact Assessments of 3rd October 2008. Law No.199, Item 1227 (2008).

The Act on Social Assistance of 12th March 2004. Law No. 64, Item 593 (2004).

The Act on Spatial Planning and Land Development of 27th March 2003. Law No. 80, Item 717 (2003).

The Act on the Principles of Conducting Development Policy of 6th December 2006. Law No. 227, Item 1658 (2006).

The Act on the Social Dialogue Council and other institutions of social dialogue of 24th July 2015. Law Item 1240 (2015).

The Act on Voivodship Self-Government of 5th June 1998. Law No. 91, Item 576 (1998).

The Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2nd April 1997. Law No. 78, Item 483 (1997).




How to Cite

Pomaranski, M. (2019). Impediments to public consultations in the Polish local self-government. Bratislava Law Review, 3(1), 70–80.