Polish Code of Deputies’ Ethics dr Julia Wojnowska-Radzińska Bureau of Research Chancellery of the Sejm “Principles of Deputies’ Ethics” The ethical principles for deputies are enshrined in the Resolution entitled “Principles of Deputies’ Ethics” which was adopted by the Polish Sejm in 1998. This Act is based upon the following principles: selflessness, openness, conscientiousness, accountability, and respect for the reputation of the Sejm. Article 1 of the Code provides: “Upon the taking of his oath, a deputy is to be guided in his/her public service by the binding legal order, and generally accepted ethical principles, as well as the concern for the common good in the spirit of solidarity”. Article 2 of the Code requires that: „A deputy should act in a manner corresponding to the dignity of a deputy, in particular by following the aforementioned principles of selflessness, openness, conscientiousness, upholding the good reputation of the Sejm and accountability.” Ethical principles: The deputies are to be guided by public interest and not to use their function in order to gain any advantage for themselves or their next of kin or accept benefits which could influence their activity as deputies (principle of selflessness). The deputies when making decisions shall act in the manner which is available to the public opinion. The deputies are to disclose a connection between their personal interests and the decision-making process which they take part in (principle of openness). Ethical principles: The deputies shall fulfill their duties properly and their acting should be governed by the substantive facts (principle of conscientiousness). The deputies should avoid behaviours which may harm the reputation of the Sejm. They should respect the dignity of other people (principle of respect for the good reputation of the Sejm). Deputies are responsible for their decisions and actions, and they are to submit themselves to applicable explanatory and scrutiny procedures (principle of accountability). Accountability for the violation of the ethical principles is set forth in provisions of the Standing Orders of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. Observing by Sejm deputies the Principles of Deputies’ Ethics is monitored by the Deputies’ Ethics Committee: Decisions in cases of Deputies who conduct themselves in a manner inconsistent with the dignity of a Deputy, shall be taken on the basis of the „Principles of Deputies’ Ethics” (Art. 145 para. 1 StOS). The Committee shall, at its own initiative, consider matters falling with its competence. Nevertheless, it takes into consideration proposals put forward to the Committee by other bodies of the Sejm and deputies, and other persons as well. The Deputies’ Ethics Committe may require a Deputy to explain any matters of doubt which have arisen in the course of proceedings (Art. 146 StOS). Observing by Sejm deputies the Principles of Deputies’ Ethics is monitored by the Deputies’ Ethics Committee: Having examined a case and having found a violation of the Principles, the Committee may by means of a resolution reproach, admonish or reprimand a deputy. Resolutions made by the Committee are to be made public. They may be appealed against to the chairman of the Committee, who presents it further to the Presidium of the Sejm. Resolutions to admonish or reprimand a deputy must be passed by an absolute majority of votes in the presence of at least half of the number of the Committee members. Final conclusions: The maintenance and promotion of high ethical standards in public life are essential to underpin democratic values and a quality-based public service. However, we must also remember that the mere existence of ethical system is not enough for preventing misconducts by parliamentarians. The existence of a code of ethics and committee can help, but it does not guarantee a miracle cure for all that is perceived to be wrong with politicians. The codes of conduct are most effective when they are built on a political culture where integrity, transparency and accountability are highly valued. Thank you very much for your attention!