Constitutional cat-and-mouse continues with Tribunal ruling

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The following is an English translation of the decision taken by Poland's Constitutional Tribunal to suspend the Supreme Court resolution of 23 January.



[The Supreme Court resolution that this ruling addresses can be read here: https://ruleoflaw.pl/translation-of-polish-supreme-court-resolution-on-judicial-appointments/]

 

MONITOR POLSKI
OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND

 

Warsaw, 29 January 2020

 

Item 103

 

Case ref. Kpt 1/20

 

DECISION

 

Warsaw, 28 January 2020

 

The Constitutional Tribunal consisting of:

 

Julia Przyłębska – chairperson
Zbigniew Jędrzejewski
Leon Kieres
Mariusz Muszyński
Krystyna Pawłowicz – rapporteur
Stanisław Piotrowicz
Justyn Piskorski
Piotr Pszczółkowski
Jakub Stelina
Wojciech Sych
Michał Warciński
Rafał Wojciechowski
Jarosław Wyrembak
Andrzej Zielonacki,

 

In connection with the request of the Speaker of the Sejm of 22 January 2020, to:

 

1) resolve the competence dispute between the Sejm of the Republic of Poland and the Supreme Court regarding the matter of whether the Supreme Court is entitled to change the statutory situation regarding the structure and organisation of the justice administration by way of the resolution referred to in Article 83 § 1 of the Act on the Supreme Court of 8 December 2017 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 825, as amended), passed in connection with a judgment of an international court or whether, pursuant to Article 10, para. 1 and 2, Article 95, para 1, Article 176, para. 2, Article 183, para 2 and Article 187, para. 4 of the Constitution, such rights remain within the exclusive competence of the lawmakers;

 

2) resolve the competence dispute between the President of the Republic of Poland and the Supreme Court regarding:

 

a) whether the competence of the President of the Republic of Poland, as referred to in Article 179 in connection with Article 144, para. 3, item 17 of the Constitution, may be understood in such a way that it is permissible to award competence to the Supreme Court or another court, which is not provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, to assess the effectiveness of the appointment of a judge and, in particular to assess the effectiveness of the award of the judge, to whom the act of nomination applies, the right to exercise judicial authority;

 

b) whether the Supreme Court can make a binding interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution in connection with the President of the Republic of Poland exercising his prerogative, as referred to in Article 144, para. 3, item 17 and Article 179 of the Constitution and, in particular, whether this court can specify what the conditions are for the effectiveness of appointing a judge;

 

decides:

 

pursuant to Article 86, para. 2 of the Act on the Organisation and Procedure of Conduct before the Constitutional Tribunal (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 2393), to temporarily regulate the disputed issues and until the case of case ref. Kpt 1/20 is settled:

 

I

 

to suspend the Supreme Court in exercising its powers to issue resolutions if they were to apply to the compliance with national law, international law and judgments of international courts of:

 

1) the formation of the membership of the National Council of the Judiciary on the basis of the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary of 12 May 2011 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 84, as amended), as well as Article 187 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland;

 

2) the procedure of presenting candidates to the President of the Republic of Poland for holding the office of judge, regulated by the Act referred to in item 1 and Article 179 in connection with Article 144, para. 3, item 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland;

 

3) the President of the Republic of Poland exercising the prerogative of appointing judges in accordance with the Act referred to in item 1 and Article 179 in connection with Article 144, para. 3, item 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland;

 

4) the competence of a person appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland at the request of the National Council of the Judiciary appointed on the basis of the Act referred to in item 1 in accordance with the provisions of that Act and Article 179 in connection with Article 144, para. 3, item 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland to hold office in the position of judge;

 

II

 

withhold the application of the resolution of combined Civil, Criminal and Labour and Social Insurance Chambers of the Supreme Court of 23 January 2020 from the date of its issue. In particular, this means that:

 

1) it is inadmissible to apply Article 439 § 1, item 2 of the Criminal Procedures Code of 6 June 1997 (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 30) and Article 379, item 4 of the Civil Procedures Code of 17 November 1964 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item, 1460, as amended) in the meaning accepted in the resolution in question;

 

2) the powers of a judge appointed to office by the President of the Republic of Poland at the request of the National Council of the Judiciary appointed in accordance with the Act referred to in point 1.1 in the procedure regulated by that act to adjudicate cannot be limited;

 

3) judgments issued by benches which included the judges specified in point 2 are binding.

 

The decision was made with a majority of votes.



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January 29, 2020

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