Józef Nowacki as a Theoretician of Normativism in Poland

In: Review of Central and East European Law
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  • 1 University of Silesia, Legal Theory and Legal Philosophy Department, Faculty of Law and Administration, Poland

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The present paper aims to present an outline of the views of the Polish legal theorist Józef Nowacki (1923–2005). The claim put forward is that Nowacki was the chief representative of Hans Kelsen’s normativism in Polish legal theory. The paper begins with a short historical sketch presenting the reception of Hans Kelsen’s views in Polish jurisprudence, noting that in the post-war period the communist authorities believed that normativism was at odds with the then prevailing system of actually existing socialism. Drawing inspiration from German-speaking authors, Nowacki rejected the ideology prevailing in Poland at that time and became a staunch advocate of the normativist stance, in particular with regard to the theory of the legal system. The second part of the paper discusses Nowacki’s views regarding the concept of the rule of law, and the third and last part presents Nowacki’s critique of the case-law of the Polish Constitutional Court.