Sentencing for Non-Compliance With Pandemic Prohibitions and Orders After Their Derogation. On Differences in the Recognition of the Depenalization of Not Wearing Masks in a Prescribed Place in the Face of Repealing Anti-Covid Measures

Czasopismo Prawa Karnego i Nauk Penalnych Rok XXV: 2021, numer 3
Journal of Criminal Law and Penal Studies Volume XXV: 2021, No. 3

Jacek Karakulski - M.A., Jagiellonian University; ORCID: 0000-0003-3085-8705; e-mail:

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lex mitior principle, offenses, temporary regulations, pandemic law, criminal liability,
intertemporal issues, COVID-19


The aim of this article is to analyze the situation in which the enforcement of criminal
(misdemeanor) liability for the violation of temporary pandemic restrictions must be
pursued after the repeal of episodic Covid regulations. The presented text addresses
issues related to (i) the scope of application of the lex mitior agit principle, (ii) the decriminalization,
(iii) the impact of the reasons for the repeal of certain provisions on
the applicability of prohibitions and orders derived from those provisions and the assessment
of the unlawfulness (ex tunc) of an offense, and (iv) the various ways in which
the legislator formulated the temporal scope of the episodic Covid regulations. One
of the conclusions of the research is that the principle expressed in Article 2 § 1 of the
Polish Code of Petty Offences does not constitute an obvious obstacle to prosecuting
the perpetrator of a Covid offense after the regulation constituting the basis for the legal
standards of the prohibition and injunction has been repealed. In the case of lifting
the obligation to cover the mouth and nose (which is a particularly frequent subject of
proceedings before the court in the scope of Article 116 § 1a of the Polish Code of Petty
Offences), there are no reasons to infer that punishment cannot be imposed from the
fact of derogation of the provisions that grounded the assessment of the unlawfulness of
the action. The issue of the enforcement of already imposed penalties was deliberately
omitted in the considerations, as the discussed problems have many aspects. The analysis
was focused on the current adjudication of criminal liability.


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