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The History of the 48-Hour Lawsuit: Democratic Backsliding, Academic Freedom, and the Legislative Process in Poland

On 15 June 2019 the Polish Ministry of Justice announced on its website that the Ministry would sue a group of lawyers from the Cracow Institute of Criminal Law, who criticized draft amendments to the Criminal Code. The Ministry of Justice argued that the opinion contained lies about the amended rules concerning liability for corruption conducted by managers of public companies. The experts strongly rejected the Ministry’s allegations. On Monday afternoon the Minister of Justice announced that the lawsuit is “no longer needed” and that the Ministry withdrew their idea. The case of “48-hours-lasting lawsuit” touches upon two fundamental issues: academic freedom and the quality of the legislative process.

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New retirement rules for Polish judges contravene EU law – according to Advocate General

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”.

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Commission v Poland – has the revolution already happened?

The CJEU will soon announce its ruling in a controversial case brought by the Commission against Poland. Barbara Grabowska-Moroz provides background and analysis of the impact of the proceedings and the Court of Justice’s potential ruling on efforts to stop the backslide of the rule of law in Poland and around Europe.

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Prosecutor disciplined for participation in demonstration in defence of Supreme Court wins with National Prosecutor’s Office

Prosecutor Piotr Wójtowicz from Legnica will not be formally disciplined for his appearance at a protest in defence of the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the disciplinary court for prosecutors rejected the appeal of National Prosecutor Bogdan Święczkowski, who was seeking to punish Wójtowicz.

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Not only free courts, but also speedy and friendly. The Congress of Lawyers has a plan. What about Ziobro?

Depoliticization of the National Council of the Judiciary, depriving the Minister of Justice of oversight with respect to courts and the prosecutorial service, speeding up cases in commercial and administrative courts, lowering court fees for citizens and elimination of the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Chamber. These are the most important proposed changes in the law presented at the 2nd Congress of Polish Lawyers.

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KRS defending itself against CJEU: “Every criterion for independence impeccably satisfied”

The newly constituted National Council of the Judiciary (KRS) does not want the Court of Justice to review its status, nor the activities of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court. “Every criterion for independence is impeccably satisfied”, said Jarosław Dudzicz, member of the new KRS, on 14 May in Luxembourg. The Law and Justice government is again employing the rhetorical arguments of “German courts” and “thieves in togas”. A final verdict on the legality of the KRS will come in July at the earliest.

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Disciplinary proceedings against a judge for telling the truth about staffing problems in courts

A judge from Łódź wrote critical remarks on the internet about the president of a court nominated by Zbigniew Ziobro, staff shortages in courts, and the promotion by the National Council of the Judiciary of judges “from their side”. Disciplinary spokesman Przemysław Radzik decided that the justice crossed a line by discussing this publicly and has brought disciplinary charges against him.

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Prosecutor Wójtowicz under fire for defending judicial independence

The head of the national public prosecutor’s office, Bogdan Święczkowski, is seeking to punish prosecutor Piotr Wójtowicz (pictured below) for his presence at a demonstration protesting attacks on the independence of the Supreme Court and National Council of the Judiciary (KRS). Święczkowski is demanding punishment for “political” activity, despite the fact that he himself ran as a candidate of Law and Justice (PiS) in recent elections. The verdict in this case will set a major precedent and will show whether all prosecutors are equal under the law.

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2019 World Justice Project award acceptance speech

This distinction is an important recognition for all rule of law defenders in Poland – the Ombudsman is just one of them – said Dr Adam Bodnar in the Hague

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author

date

29 April 2019


Human Rights and Solidarity

Remarks by Dr Adam Bodnar, Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, on Human Rights and Solidarity at the University of Connecticut (4 April 2019)

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