The Polish Constitution provides for a distinction between universally binding law and internal law. Universally binding law is binding on all entities in the country, governs the legal situation of citizens and other entities (such as legal persons, business operators, associations, organisations etc.) and determines their rights and obligations. Enactments of internal law solely concern the legal situation of entities within the organisational structure of the body issuing such enactments.
Chapter III of the Constitution (Articles 87-94) lists the sources of universally binding law. These are:
- International agreements ratified by the President of Poland
- Local acts on territory of local authorities
In addition to the above, Article 234 of the Constitution provides for the following universally binding law – regulations having the force of statute issued by the President of the Republic solely in cases tightly defined by the Constitution (e.g. during martial law or whenever the Sejm is unable to assemble for a sitting).
A further source of universally binding law is constituted by the legislation of international organisations if the international agreement establishing such organisations provides for the legislation established by them to have effect under domestic law (Article 91(3) of the Constitution). This Article concerns Community secondary legislation.
Publication of the full text of Acts, regulations and enactments of local law is subject to their being reproduced in full in one of Poland’s official publications (Article 88 of the Constitution). There are currently three such publications: The Journal of Laws of the Polish Republic, the Official Gazette of the Polish Republic (Polish Monitor) and the Official Gazette of the Polish Republic (Polish Monitor B). Enactments of universally binding law are published in the Journal of Laws.