Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A vacation for laws?

A mysterious term has colonised the Polish newsworld of late that makes anyone who has used it sound instantly like a legal expert or perhaps a travel agent for legal documents: vacatio legis. Mmmm, it has a nice ring. Almost like an Italian cocktail. Yes, waiter, I will have two more vacatio legises (or is that legi).

Vacatio legis. I like writing it. The use of Latin naturally makes you smart. Knowledge of how to use the phrase makes you even smarter.

But what is it? Is it a vacation for hard-pressed work-weary laws? An Ibiza for bills perchance. Or perhaps it's a vacation away from law? Like summer camp for anarchists' children.

Vacatio legis, as Mr. Wikipedia states, is loosely translated as "the absence of law." It's basically a technical term referring to the time between a law being signed and the time that law takes effect.

In Poland, it's far more than that. In fact, it's the last hope for opponents of the government's controversial pension changes to try to block them or make the government look overly hasty. 

The government plans about a 1-month vacatio legis between when the president signs into law the changes (coming days) and them going into effect on May 1. Most legal experts say this is enough.

But some counter that if the vacatio legis is 29 days instead of 30 days, the Constitution will be horribly violated and the sky will fall, or something. If it's 28 days, the second coming could be at hand. Others want even a 3-month break. This is all very pathetic, in a bad way.

For, the pension changes are a done deal. Opponents are just going to have to stop worrying and love them. As for me, this post has made me think of a new Latin phrase: vacatio Scotto. Meaning I need a vacation.


  1. I want to stretch out my legis during a vacatio on that hammock.

  2. By the way, your sub-title "Jarek, dales kici mleczka?" is creeping me out a little.

  3. I like the legis on vacatio. Good one.