REPORT of the Stefan Batory Foundation Legal Expert Group on the impact of the judiciary reform in Poland in 2015-2018
The measures adopted by the ruling majority, the Government and the President appear to intend to ensure that the executive and legislative branch can take control of the judiciary and as such they raise serious concerns about the separation and independence of courts in Poland.
- The ruling majority has annihilated the centralized constitutional review process in Poland. The constitutional court is barely active and it gives priority not to cases filed by citizens but to those filed by the governing majority;
- By lowering the retirement age of Supreme Court judges the institution will see the attrition of its most experienced jurists and the influx of judges seconded by the Minister of Justice;
- The appointment of 19 National Judiciary Council members elected by the Sejm represents a complete takeover of this body by the lower house of parliament. The National Judiciary Council with members who are not endorsed by their peers or are political appointees;
- The overall assessment of the amended the Law on the Common Courts System has demonstrated that the Minister of Justice has been vested with a far-reaching and often completely discretionary power to interfere with the staffing of common courts and to indirectly influence judges and control their careers, i.a. through disciplinary procedures;
- In summary it is a systemic violation of the rule of law, democracy, the division of powers, including the separation of judicial authority, as well as court independence and judicial impartiality.
Full document can be found here: REPORT of the Stefan Batory Foundation Legal Expert Group on the impact of the judiciary reform in Poland in 2015-2018, published in 2018