New “commissioner” in the Supreme Court: Aleksander Stępkowski


Everything you need to know about the rule of law in Poland


Stępkowski was one of the founders of the Legal Culture Institute, Ordo Iuris, a conservative association of lawyers, known for its battle against the “gender ideology” and advocating extreme penalties for abortion, including imprisonment for women terminating pregnancy

What follows is a translation of an article published at website on 15 May 2020.


Judge Aleksander Stępkowski is acting first president of the Supreme Court from Friday 15 May. In the past, he was one of the founders and long-term president of the conservative institute, Ordo Iuris. He also held the post of deputy minister of foreign affairs in the Law and Justice (PiS) government. Stępkowski was appointed to the Supreme Court on the motion of the new NCJ, without waiting for the judgment of the European court.


Kamil Zaradkiewicz, who was acting first president of the Supreme Court after Małgorzata Gersdorf’s term of office ended resigned on Friday 15 May 2020. President Andrzej Duda entrusted the fulfilment of the duties of the president of the Supreme Court to Judge Aleksander Stępkowski.


Doctor habilitatus Aleksander Stępkowski is connected with the University of Warsaw, where he is a professor of the Faculty of Law and Administration.


He was one of the founders of the Legal Culture Institute, Ordo Iuris, which was established in 2013. In 2013–2015 and 2016–2017, he held the post of president of the management board.


Ordo Iuris is a conservative association of lawyers, known for its battle against the “gender ideology” and advocating extreme penalties for abortion, including imprisonment for women terminating pregnancy.


Deputy minister in the PiS government


In November 2015, after the Law and Justice party won the parliamentary elections, Stępkowski became the deputy minister of foreign affairs.


At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was responsible for legal and treaty issues. When PiS was making changes in the Constitutional Tribunal, it was he who was convincing the Venice Commission that everything is happening in accordance with European standards.


He was recalled from the position in August 2016.


Controversial nomination to the Supreme Court


At the end of August 2018, the new NCJ nominated by politicians, selected 20 candidates for judicial positions in the Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs of the Supreme Court in three rounds of voting. Aleksander Stępkowski then found himself among the candidates presented to the president. He had no previous experience as a judge.


He waited for his appointment until February 2019. The delay arose from the fact that Stępkowski had dual nationality – Polish and British. The rules of the Supreme Court do not allow for this. Therefore, Stępkowski surrendered his British passport.


The president appointed Stępkowski, even though the implementation of resolutions of the new NCJ on this matter had been suspended by the Supreme Administrative Court in connection with the pending decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the legality of the new Council.


Stępkowski then assessed that “he does not very well see any legal grounds for issuing an injunction of this type”.


Translated by Roman Wojtasz



Everything you need to know about the rule of law in Poland



May 15, 2020


Supreme Courtrule of lawdisciplinary proceedingsEuropean CommissionDisciplinary Chamberjudicial independenceNational Council of the JudiciaryCourt of JusticeConstitutional TribunalAndrzej DudajudgesPolandelections 2020presidential electionsEuropean UniondemocracyZbigniew ZiobrojudiciaryFirst President of the Supreme Courtpreliminary rulingsCJEUMinister of JusticeCourt of Justice of the EUIgor TuleyaJarosław KaczyńskiCOVID-19PresidentProsecutor GeneralprosecutorsLaw and Justicemuzzle lawelectionsCommissioner for Human Rightsacting first president of the Supreme CourtMay 10 2020 elections2017Freedom HouseExtraordinary Control and Public Affairs ChamberVenice CommissionConstitutionNCJcriminal lawdisciplinary systemNational Electoral CommissionKamil ZaradkiewiczGeneral Assembly of the Supreme Court JudgesAleksander StepkowskiPresident of PolandMałgorzata Manowskademocratic backslidingdecommunizationfreedom of assemblyJulia PrzyłębskaLaw on the NCJrecommendationAdam BodnarHuman Rights CommissionerCCBEThe Council of Bars and Law Societies of EuropereportZiobroPM Mateusz Morawieckifreedom of expressionprosecutionEuropean Association of Judges11 January March in WarsawHungaryNational ProsecutorcoronavirusC-791/19disciplinary liability for judgesWojciech Hermelińskiresolution of 23 January 2020Stanisław PiotrowiczPiotr PszczółkowskiJarosław WyrembakLeon KieresAndrzej ZollPKWMarek SafjanMałgorzata Gersdorfinfringment actionEU valuesENCJlex NGOcivil societyRussiaIsraelforeign agents lawOrdo IurisOSCEOrganization of Security and Co-operation in EuropeEuropean Court of Human RightsFirst President of the Suprme CourtPresident of the Republic of PolandJarosław GowinLGBTLGBT free zonesequalityLGBT ideology free zonesSejmChamber of Extraordinary Verificationhate crimeshate speechcriminal codepopulismMateusz MorawieckiPrime Ministerequal treatmentfundamental rightspoliceCT PresidentJustice Defence Committee – KOSEUWhite Paperlustrationtransitional justicepublic opinion pollSupreme Court President2018Nations in TransitCouncil of the EUStanisław ZabłockiArticle 7European ParliamentLIBE CommitteeFrans TimmermansUS Department of StateSwieczkowskiSupreme Administrative Courtadvocate generalpress releaseRights and Values ProgrammeconditionalityEU budgetC-619/18defamatory statementsWorld Justice Project awardintimidation of dissentersWojciech SadurskijudgetransferPechKochenovEvgeni TanchevFreedom in the WorldECJFrackowiakretirement ageAmnesty InternationalŁukasz PiebiakPiebiak gatehuman rightstrans-Atlantic valuesLSOlawyersAct of 20 December 2019repressive actKoen LenaertsharrassmentAlina CzubieniakMinistry of JusticeJustice FundGerard BirgfellerEwa Maciejewskapostal votepostal vote billPiS