2005 issue 3


Volume 14, issue 3

Review article

Legal regulations concerning excusing absence due to illness following court summons

Danuta Hajdukiewicz1
1. Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2005; 14 (3): 195-251
Keywords: forensic psychiatric expert opinions, excusing failure to attend in court because of illness


Objective. To present the legal foundations and method of excusing absence due to illness following court summons.

Review. This article presents the contents of the amended art. 117 § 4 of the criminal code which obligated the Minister of Justice to issue instructions in agreement with the Minister of Health concerning the method and circumstances of excusing absence in court. On 24 June 2003 only the Minister of Justice issued such instructions declaring that the following persons are entitled to issue certificates acknowledging incapacity to answer court summons to attend due to illness: a doctor employed at a public or non-public health care facility in the concerned person 's catchment area, the head of a hospital ward in which such persons are hospitalised or a doctor responsible for issuing medical certificates in treatment and nursing homes, nursing homes, sanatoriums, preventoriums and other round-the-clock or all-day medical services. The fact that the instructions do not say whether the examination and certificate are free of charge and that certificates may be issued by doctors employed in non-public health care facilities raises doubts as to whether this will not encourage the practice of having to pay for the certificate, especially considering that the instructions do not mention any form of remuneration for the "entitled" doctor.

Conclusions. For practical reasons it is important that doctors, including psychiatrists, acquaint themselves with the aforementioned instructions with which most doctors are currently unfamiliar.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Danuta Hajdukiewicz, Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii, ul. Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warszawa