Judges across Poland refusing to work with the neo-KRS. Łętowska: “It’s not a boycott, but a precaution”

The assemblies of judges of all appellate courts in Poland have no intention of issuing opinions on candidates for judicial posts. They are refusing to cooperate with the new KRS, because the EU Court of Justice will soon rule whether it was established in accordance with EU law. “We have heard the negative opinion of the Advocate General. Common sense dictates that we avoid deepening the legal chaos,” comments Ewa Łętowska

Read More

ABA: In Poland, Erosion of Judicial Independence Continues

The American Bar Association (ABA), one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations with over 400,000 members, is monitoring the independence of the judiciary in Poland. On July 8-9, 2019, the ABA President Bob Carlson visited Warsaw to meet with lawyers, judges and prosecutors as well as civil society to engage in discussion on the rule of law in Poland and threats to judicial independence.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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”.

Read More

Harassing the judiciary by transferring judges

Yet another judge has been transferred from his post by force. Łukasz Biliński, justice of the District Court in Warsaw, known for acquitting protesters who were involved in blocking nationalist demonstrations, has been removed from ruling on criminal cases and transferred to the family division of the court against his will.

Read More

Disciplinary regime under ECJ review: a dispute over admissibility

On Tuesday, 18 June 2019, the European Court of Justice considered two preliminary requests submitted by courts in Łódź and Warsaw. Both courts are concerned whether the new system of disciplinary proceedings against judges meets EU standards, particularly those enshrined in the principle of effective judicial protection. However, the hearing was mainly focused not on particular provisions of law questioned by the Polish courts, but on the admissibility of the questions these courts referred to the ECJ.

Read More

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”.

Read More

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.

Read More