Fraud on the court is a special kind of crime in Poland. It is committed by using the court which is to give a ruling in the given case. It is qualified as a common fraud (Article 286 of Polish Criminal Code) since there is no special provision.
What does fraud on the court mean in Poland?
According to Article 286 of Polish Criminal Code whoever, with the purpose of financial benefit, causes another person to dispose of his own or someone else’s property disadvantageously by misleading him, or by taking advantage of a mistake or inability to adequately understand the action undertaken shall be subject to the penalty of imprisonment for a period between 6 months to 8 years.
In Poland the term „fraud on the court” refers to a situation in which a material misrepresentation has been intentionally made to the court. Par example, the court is presented false evidence by the perpetrator. Then, basing on it, the judge gives a different ruling than they would have knowing the truth about the case. Therefore, fraud on the court is committed when someone misleads the court in order to get a favorable ruling. In effect, the misled court disposes of the other party’s property disadvantageously.
Elements constituting a fraud on the court
For any polish criminal offence to occur there must be four elements. First is the prohibited conduct, the second – violation of a protected legal good. The third – the perpetrator stated in the provision; the forth – the mental element of a guilty mind or intention.
Prohibited conduct in a case of a fraud on the court consists of causing the judge to dispose of the other party’s property disadvantageously by misleading them. Misleading the court usually is achieved by presenting false evidence. What is important is that the ruling must be at least partly based on that evidence.
The protected legal good is the property of the perpetrator’s opponent. The victim is forced to dispose of their property disadvantageously by the court’s ruling.
Everyone can commit a fraud on the court. The only condition is that they are a party in the court’s proceedings.
However the mental element however is more complicated. The perpetrator must act with not only a direct intent to commit a crime but an additional element is necessary. Namely, the perpetrator’s intent must include their purpose of financial benefit. The financial benefit in this case means obtaining a favorable ruling.
Th full version of the article is available in Polish here.