In 2016 we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the General Counsel to the Treasury (Prokuratoria Generalna Skarbu Państwa or PGSP), which draws upon the long tradition of Polish legal institutions created to defend public interest.
The PGSP was established by royal decree on 11 October 1816 to be a body entrusted with the task of defending public property, the financial interests of the State Treasury and state institutions. Even following the dissolution of the Kingdom of Poland the PGSP remained in operation until 1915. Throughout this time it was the only state authority to serve as proof that Polish lands were a separate entity from the remaining part of the Russian Empire.
For the area of Polish land under Austrian rule the equivalent of the PGSP was the Counsel to the Treasury (Prokuratoria Skarbu), also called the Counsel to the Finance (Prokuratoria Finansowa). One of their achievements was to affirm that the land surrounding the Morskie Oko Lake in the Tatra Mountains was also Polish. The Counsel to the Treasury served as a model on which to base the General Counsel to the Republic of Poland (PGRP) when it was established in 1919.
The responsibilities of the PGRP consisted in aiding the Council of Ministers in making crucial decisions regarding the State. The PGRP issued legal opinions and represented the State Treasury in court and international proceedings. The President of the PGRP acted also as a Co-Chairman of the Codification Commission for the Republic of Poland. The PGRP maintained branches in Poland’s larger cities, such as Kraków, Poznań, and L’viv, as well as delegations in Vilnius, Katowice and the Free City of Danzig.
The PGRP was closed down during the Stalinist period following the Second World War, only remaining in operation until 14 April 1951. As a result of the changes to the legal system, legal representation in courts was performed by the heads of state units, that is companies and other agencies.
Throughout its existence, many distinguished individuals worked for the PGRP in a number of different fields, rendering outstanding service to the State. It is worth recalling such names as Fryderyk Zoll, Roman Longchamps de Berier, Alfred Ohanowicz, Konstanty Grzybowski, Stanisław Ehrlich, Jerzy Górski, Stanisław Gołąb, Kazimierz Karol Przybyłowski, Bronisław Walaszek, Jerzy Zdzisław Starościak, and Adam Szpunar. The following representatives of different professions also worked for PGRP: the economist Adam Alojzy Krzyżanowski, the philosopher Witold Rubczyński, the historian Władysław Smoleński, the musicians Tadeusz Szeligowski and Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern, and fairy tale writer Stanisław Jachowicz. During the life of the PGRP a number of politicians and state activists were also involved in the operations, including Stefan Korboński.
During the first years of transforming the system, the social and the political circles both requested that the General Counsel to the Treasury be reactivated. The Act of 8 July 2005 established anew the PGSP, which began to operate on 15 March 2006. Pursuant to the Act, the PGRP performs legal representation of the State Treasury in highly significant matters. Today the PGRP embodies the glorious traditions, representing the State Treasury before courts and arbitration tribunals. The PGRP also prepares opinions on matters related to notable rights and interests of the State Treasury, or on drafts of normative acts determining proceedings before courts, arbitration tribunals and other bodies adjudicating in matters of great significance to the State.
The contemporary life of the PGRP involves ensuring the best levels of legal assistance, based on its ten years of professional experience.