Defiant judges under fire for not following the party line

Disciplinary officer Michał Lasota is prosecuting three judges from Gdańsk for a verdict they issued. This is yet another disciplinary case initiated against judges for performing their judicial duties. Disciplinary proceedings for verdicts not only serve to intimidate judges, but also violate their independence.

Read More

Law and Justice’s Concentrated Power over Polish Prosecutors

On 8 July 2019, prosecutor Mariusz Krasoń was relocated from the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow, Poland to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław-Krzyki, almost 300 km away, and two levels lower in the hierarchy. The Justice Defence Committee (KOS) indicates that in May 2019, prosecutor Krasoń initiated a resolution of the Assembly of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow.

Read More

CJEU Yet Again Slams Judicial “Reforms” in Judge Retirement Age Verdict

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled for a second time that a cornerstone of the PiS-led judicial “reforms” is incompatible with EU law. In its verdict of 5 November, the CJEU stated that the provisions of the Common Courts Act adopted in 2017, including those making the retirement ages for men and women different, infringed the prohibition on discrimination and violated the principle of effective judicial protection.

Read More

Freedom of expression of judges and prosecutors: UNHRC report

While the freedom of expression of public officials can be sometimes restricted with a view to protecting the impartiality and independence of institutions, in the event of a breach of the rule of law, judges and prosecutors can be seen as having a moral duty to speak out – says the report.

Read More

Lacking a majority, PiS needs the Senate to install a new Commissioner for Human Rights

The Senate in opposition hands means the end of Law and Justice’s dreams of subordinating the Office of the Commissioner of Human Rights. Without the consent of senators, the new Commissioner will not take up the post in 2020 after Adam Bodnar’s current term ends. If the Senate rejects the candidates put forward by PiS, Bodnar may remain in the post of Commissioner longer. And continue to point out where PiS is breaking the law.

Read More

Disappointment and the Polish Parliamentary Elections

Even the winners of yesterday’s parliamentary elections in Poland can feel (at least somewhat) like losers. There are many possible scenarios for how events will unfold, and underlying tensions threaten to wreak havoc among the main parties. While there are many reasons for all parties to be satisfied, there are also many reasons why they may look to the upcoming Sejm with trepidation rather than excitement.

Read More

Balicki: The worst Sejm in three decades has destroyed Polish parliamentarism

Ryszard Balicki, a leading Polish constitutional scholar from the University of Wrocław, has passed judgement: the current Sejm whose term is now coming to a close, responsible for violations of established traditions and the Constitution as well, was a mute and essentially pointless Sejm. Who is responsible? In large part, the former Marshal of the Sejm, Marek Kuchciński.

Read More

Informal exercise of power – a comfortable way to undermine democracy in Hungary

Viktor Orbán’s government is masterful at creating a feudal relationship of social dependence by employing informal means of coercion. And while informal means of coercion play a very important role in the regime aiming at consolidating his power, international observers are practically unable to address systemically and effectively.

Read More

Kaczyński details PiS plans for “vetting” Polish judges after Sunday’s election

The head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has stated that the ruling party will complete its “reform” of the justice system, overcoming what he calls “the last barrier”. Kaczyński invokes the Polish constitution, which provides mechanisms for the reorganization of the courts. In practice, this will mean a vetting of all judges in the country and the removal of those who fail to toe the line.

Read More

Undemocratic but Formally Lawful: The Suspension of the Polish Parliament

While the attention of many constitutional law scholars has been on the UK Government’s decision to prorogue Parliament and first judicial responses, the Polish Sejm’s plenary sitting has been unexpectedly suspended and postponed until after the general elections of 13 October 2019. The decision has a precedential nature. For the first time since the Polish Constitution entered into force, the ‘old’ Sejm is sitting while the ‘new’ Sejm will be waiting for an opening. Although this decision is formally compliant with the Polish Constitution, it is nonetheless undemocratic and raises some serious questions about the motivation behind this move.

Read More