The American Bar Association (ABA), one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations with over 400,000 members, is monitoring the independence of the judiciary in Poland. On July 8-9, 2019, the ABA President Bob Carlson visited Warsaw to meet with lawyers, judges and prosecutors as well as civil society to engage in discussion on the rule of law in Poland and threats to judicial independence.
In a long-awaited opinion addressing an element of the so-called reform of the judiciary in Poland, the Court of Justice Advocate General Tanchev states that “by lowering the age of retirement of judges of the common law courts, and by vesting the Minister of Justice with the discretion to extend the active period of such judges, Poland has breached its obligations under EU law”.
Since 2015, Poland has been facing an ongoing constitutional crisis which affects the work and position of the judiciary. The numerous legal changes concerning the work of the courts (from top-rank courts such as the Constitutional Tribunal and the Supreme Court to common courts) as well as prosecution were accompanied by smear campaigns and attacks against judges and certain prosecutors.