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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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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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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Judges under special supervision. Report of Association of Judges THEMIS

The assertion presented by the media, that the sole objective of the so-called ‘great reform of the justice system’ lies in a one-off replacement of judicial personnel with a view to replace the key judicial office holders by those subordinated to the Minister of Justice is an overlyoptimistic simplification of matters. The authors of the ‘reform of the justice system’ were far more ambitious.

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