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Freedom House “Freedom in the World” 2019 report ranks independence of the judiciary in Poland
An annual report by the NGO Freedom House summarizes key developments surrounding the independence of the judiciary in 2018. Poland scored 1 out of 4 on this measure.
Forced transfer as harassment and “disciplinary measure”
The forced transfer of acclaimed prosecutor Mariusz Krasoń from the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow to a lower-ranked office in Wroclaw has generated controversy among prosecutors and other legal professionals in Poland. The decision was issued after the prosecutor Krasoń participated in the drafting of a document highlighting defects in the current system earlier this year. A number of organizations and individuals, including the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, have expressed their support for prosecutor Krasoń and criticized the decision of the National Prosecutor, Bogdan Święczkowski.
Judges across Poland refusing to work with the neo-KRS. Łętowska: “It’s not a boycott, but a precaution”
The assemblies of judges of all appellate courts in Poland have no intention of issuing opinions on candidates for judicial posts. They are refusing to cooperate with the new KRS, because the EU Court of Justice will soon rule whether it was established in accordance with EU law. “We have heard the negative opinion of the Advocate General. Common sense dictates that we avoid deepening the legal chaos,” comments Ewa Łętowska
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.
Attacks on CJEU Advocate General after his crushing assessment of PiS-led judicial “reforms”
The Minister of Justice feels that the opinion of the Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice Evgeni Tanchev is incompatible with EU law and constitutes a “defence of pathology in the Polish judiciary.” If the CJEU concurs with the Advocate General’s opinion, following the judgment Poland will have to select a new National Council of the Judiciary. Changes will also be necessary in other EU Member States.
PiS amendments to the Act on the Supreme Court in breach of EU law. “A symbolic, historical judgement”
“The Law on the Supreme Court was contrary to EU law”, ruled the Court of Justice on 24 June. According to the CJEU, the rules shorting judges’ term of office infringed the principle of their irremovability and judicial independence. The Court is in doubt about the real objectives of the PiS-led judiciary reform. More judgments will be issued shortly.
A report on the state of the rule of law in Europe
In June of this year, professor Laurent Pech of Middlesex University London and professor Dimitry Kochenov of University of Groningen issued a reflection paper on the current state of the rule of law in the European Union titled “Strengthening the Rule of Law Within the European Union: Diagnoses, Recommendations, and What to Avoid”.
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”.
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.
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.