Posts in the category


EU Court of Justice poised to draw line in sand over judicial independence in Poland

Poland’s Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights, Maciej Taborowski, explains the significance of prejudicial questions submitted by Polish courts. On Tuesday 19 November, the CJEU will issue a crucial ruling determining the status of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and the neo-National Council of the Judiciary.

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Kaczyński above the law. The delicate work of keeping him away from questioning and out of court

The public prosecutor’s office has refused to initiate an investigation into the fraud allegedly perpetrated by Kaczynski against Birgfellner. The prosecutor took 259 days, although it should have been 30 by law, questioning the businessman over and over again, and slapping fines on him. What took so long? Because on 5 October, regulations making it possible to seek justice were changed, and on 13 October elections were held.

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Disappointment and the Polish Parliamentary Elections

Even the winners of yesterday’s parliamentary elections in Poland can feel (at least somewhat) like losers. There are many possible scenarios for how events will unfold, and underlying tensions threaten to wreak havoc among the main parties. While there are many reasons for all parties to be satisfied, there are also many reasons why they may look to the upcoming Sejm with trepidation rather than excitement.

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Balicki: The worst Sejm in three decades has destroyed Polish parliamentarism

Ryszard Balicki, a leading Polish constitutional scholar from the University of Wrocław, has passed judgement: the current Sejm whose term is now coming to a close, responsible for violations of established traditions and the Constitution as well, was a mute and essentially pointless Sejm. Who is responsible? In large part, the former Marshal of the Sejm, Marek Kuchciński.

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Informal exercise of power – a comfortable way to undermine democracy in Hungary

Viktor Orbán’s government is masterful at creating a feudal relationship of social dependence by employing informal means of coercion. And while informal means of coercion play a very important role in the regime aiming at consolidating his power, international observers are practically unable to address systemically and effectively.

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Kaczyński details PiS plans for “vetting” Polish judges after Sunday’s election

The head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has stated that the ruling party will complete its “reform” of the justice system, overcoming what he calls “the last barrier”. Kaczyński invokes the Polish constitution, which provides mechanisms for the reorganization of the courts. In practice, this will mean a vetting of all judges in the country and the removal of those who fail to toe the line.

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Undemocratic but Formally Lawful: The Suspension of the Polish Parliament

While the attention of many constitutional law scholars has been on the UK Government’s decision to prorogue Parliament and first judicial responses, the Polish Sejm’s plenary sitting has been unexpectedly suspended and postponed until after the general elections of 13 October 2019. The decision has a precedential nature. For the first time since the Polish Constitution entered into force, the ‘old’ Sejm is sitting while the ‘new’ Sejm will be waiting for an opening. Although this decision is formally compliant with the Polish Constitution, it is nonetheless undemocratic and raises some serious questions about the motivation behind this move.

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AG Tanchev gives robust defence of judges’ right to turn to CJEU

CJEU Advocate General Evgeni Tanchev confirmed that judges may pose preliminary questions to the Court of Justice concerning their independence in the context of the disciplinary system for judges in EU Member States.

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Poland’s Justice Minister Continues Dissembling about Judiciary “Reform”

The Law and Justice government argues that the reforms introduced since 2015 do not differ from solutions in place elsewhere. But Law and Justice has politicised the National Council of the Judiciary and subjugated the Constitutional Tribunal. They are trying to take over the Supreme Court and is going after judges who dare to voice criticism. They have carried out a ghastly purge in the public prosecutorial service. Every particular change is troubling, but all the more so when viewed in its entirety.

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Faced with Doubts over Body’s Legality, Judiciary Council President Remains Unrepentant

During his report to the Parliament, the president of the neo-KRS declared that the members of the Council would not leave their posts even in the event the CJEU rules against them. Only the Polish authorities can force them out.

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