Sędziowie w Polsce; Sądy w Polsce; Sądy II Rzeczypospolitej
Katowice : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Appeal districts with their headquarters in Kraków and Katowice belonged to the smallest
units of court administration in the Second Republic of Poland. The former covers the
area of less than 30 thousand square kilometres in West Małopolska region (Kraków
voivodship and part of Lwów voivodship). The latter, the size of which was identical to the
Silesian voivodship, amounted to only 4230 square kilometers. Irrespective of the fact that
both appeals did not represent an impressive extensiveness of their territories on a national
scale, the discrepancies between them were even more striking. Kraków district, seven times
bigger than the one in Katowice, had to deal with the problems the circle of judges faced in
the interwar period on a different scale. A slightly smaller diversification in both appeal districts
related to the number of judges. The Silesian voivodship comprised the most densely
populated territories, which translated into a proportionally bigger staffing of appeal courts
in Katowice. Nevertheless, what is worth emphasizing is the fact that the circle in Kraków
was four times bigger than in Katowice. The former included less than 150 judges whereas
the latter about 500.
The differences on other levels were even more numerous. Above all, what is important
covers unequal conditions of moving from the rules of judiciary organization imposed on by
oppressive countries to the system shaped by the Second Republic of Poland. Courts in
Kraków became the institutions of the Polish country as early as in 1918, in Cieszyn two
years later and in Upper Silesia as late as in 1922. Even more important were the circumstances
accompanying the very changes. In West Małopolska region, they were almost unnoticed.
Poles have been judges here for years and Polish language dominated in the judiciary.
Slight, though noticeable staff changes had to be conducted in Cieszyn Silesia, which was
connected with the necessity of changing some of the judge’s staff of German origin into Polish
ones and moving to a newly-formed appeal district in Katowice.
The biggest changes took place in Upper Silesia. A division of the plebiscite area as such
destroyed the already existing organizational structure of plebiscite in this area (Poland did
not receive any town and headquarters of the appeal court). Hence, it had to be constructed
from the very beginning. The formation of the networks of the judiciary in the Polish part of
Upper Silesia did not involve the judges of German origin who joined the judiciary in the
Weimar Republic. Practically speaking, all judges taking work in the Uppersilesian part of
appeal in Katowice in 1922 had to be brought from other parts of the Second Republic of
Poland (especially from Galicia).
Twenty years of the interwar period gradually blurred the differences between the circles
of judges of appeal courts in Kraków and Katowice. The employees of the judiciary underwent identical legal regulations, received the same salary and followed analogical stages of
professional development. Despite these factors, the local differences deeply-rooted in social
awareness did not disappear. They revealed themselves in the form of separate customs governing
the means of conducting court cases and a different model of performing professional
duties. Besides, what differentiated Uppersilesian judges from Kraków ones was the way of
engaging in different types of enterprises of a social nature, as well as the understanding of
the notion of judicial independence itself.