ECJ hears case on retirement of ordinary courts judges
Polish authorities demand that the European Commission withdraw its complaint since the contested provisions are no longer in force.
Before the hearing at the Court of Justice on 8 April concerning the law on ordinary courts, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jacek Czaputowicz, repeated that the Commission should withdraw the motion to the ECJ. Poland’s representative before the EU court, Bogusław Majczyna, claimed that the infringement action is unsubstantiated and an unwarranted intrusion into the organisation of the Polish judicial system.
The Commission brought its action against Poland on March 2017, and the contested provisions were repealed the following month. Because of that, the Polish government maintains there is no need to adjudicate, so the complaint should be withdrawn. However, the Court of Justice procedure is to ascertain a breach of EU law as of the date the Commission finishes its internal pre-litigation procedure. At that time, Poland was not in compliance with Brussel’s demands and had failed to amend the said law.
According to the Commission, Poland has violated the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and the obligation to ensure effective legal protection. The complaint regards provisions distinguishing between the retirement age for men and women working as ordinary judges, Supreme Court judges, and prosecutors, and by lowering the retirement age applicable to ordinary court judges, while at the same time empowering the Minister for Justice to decide whether to extend judges’ active service period.
The ECJ advocate general, Evgeni Tanchev, announced he will deliver his opinion on 20 June 2019.
By Anna Wójcik