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.
It is more about such softening of the guarantee of independence of the judiciary which would enable the political power, on the one hand, to influence decisions on who is to become a judge and who is to be promoted (this was the objective of the changes in the procedure of appointing judges – members of the National Council of the Judiciary) and, on the other, to have an influence on court proceedings in individual cases. Given the broad spectrum of powers of the Minister of Justice – Prosecutor General described above, encompassing equally administrative supervision over courts, as well as interference with the process of disciplinary action and political control over criminal proceedings with respect to judges, it should be accepted that, after the recent legislative changes, the political power represented by the Minister of Justice has become significantly better equipped with instruments for harassing judges, which facilitates applying pressure to judges and, in the future, removing them from cases or even removing them from judicial office.
More in a 66-pages long in-depth analysis of the state of threats to judicial independence prepared by Judge Dariusz Mazur, Spokesman of the Association of Judges, THEMIS.
The original Polish version of this report will be published by Wolters Kluwer this year in a monograph entitled: “Constitution. Rule of law. The Judiciary. Current problems of the judiciary in Poland”, edited by Ł. Bojarski, K. Grajewski, J. Kremer, G. Ott and W. Żurek.