The President promotes Ziobro’s ministerial colleagues wholesale. A deputy minister went all the way to the Supreme Administrative Court
President Andrzej Duda has given a high promotion to Deputy Minister of Justice Anna Dalkowska. The President also promoted 58 people to Poland’s largest court, including Ziobro’s nominees and associates, as well as spouses and partners of the ‘good change’ judges
President Andrzej Duda handed out the promotions or, in other words, appointments to higher instance courts on Tuesday 23 February. The President gives out such promotions from time to time. But this time their number raises eyebrows. As many as 82 judges received promotion, 58 of them to the largest and a key court in Poland, the Regional Court in Warsaw.
We reviewed the list of those who were promoted. It includes judges with many years of experience in adjudicating and who have independent judgments in their CVs.
But the promotions for judges holding functional positions in the capital’s courts stand out. Ziobro’s ministry appoints judges who are trusted or recommended to these positions. Family and private ties can be seen in several of these promotions. This does not mean that they influenced the promotion.
We are not assessing whether the judges now appointed by the president to the Regional Court in Warsaw deserve this promotion for their work and judicial achievements. Some have been working in the courts for a long time, have issued independent judgments, and now have simply taken advantage of vacancies and entered the recruitment process before the politicized National Council of Judiciary.
Even though the largest association of independent judges, Iustitia, called for a boycott of such recruitment.
However, for the public good – citizens have the right to know who will judge them in an important court – we are showing certain trends.
Rapid promotion for Ziobro’s deputy
The most spectacular promotion went to Anna Dalkowska, the deputy minister of justice responsible for the courts. She replaced Deputy Minister Łukasz Piebiak in 2019, after he had to leave following the outbreak of the hate scandal.
Dalkowska is a rank and file judge of the District Court in Gdynia on a day-to-day basis (since 2000).
Now the President of the Republic has appointed her to the Supreme Administrative Court, which is equal in rank to the Supreme Court.
Dalkowska has therefore immediately jumped to the fourth, highest level in the judiciary. This promotion will give her a soft landing after working for Minister Ziobro. As a Supreme Administrative Court judge, she will also enjoy a high income and a high pension in the future.
Dalkowska represented the government before the CJEU in cases regarding the Polish justice administration. And there she defended the ‘good change’ in the courts. She also disciplines court presidents. It was supposedly because of the friction with Dalkowska that the president of the Regional Court in Warsaw, Joanna Bitner, had to resign.
Judge Rafal Terlecki is also on the list of promoted judges, who, until now, was judge of the Regional Court in Gdańsk and president of that court nominated by Ziobro’s ministry. Terlecki was promoted to judge of the Court of Appeal in Gdańsk. He had also previously been applying for promotion to the Supreme Administrative Court. We were unable to establish whether he is still applying for it or whether he has given up.
List of promoted presidents and vice-presidents
The list of as many as 58 judges promoted by President Andrzej Duda to the Regional Court in Warsaw is interesting. This is an important court – the largest, most important and high profile trials in Poland are held here. Because large companies, editorial offices and government offices have their headquarters in Warsaw.
And so, the regional judges appointed by the President include:
- Łukasz Kluska, president of the District Court in Pruszków, a nominee of Ziobro’s ministry. He is associated with Łukasz Piebiak. Kluska nominated Dariusz Drajewicz to the new NCJ. He also signed his and Rafał Puchalski’s letters of support for the NCJ.
- Sebastian Ładoś, president of the District Court for Warszawa-Wola, nominated by Ziobro’s ministry.
- Tomasz Niewiadomski, Vice-President of the District Court for Warszawa-Mokotów, nominated by Ziobro’s ministry.
- Joanna Pąsik, president of the District Court for Warszawa-Mokotów, nominated by Ziobro’s ministry.
- Agnieszka Sidor-Leszczyńska, vice-president of the District Court for Warszawa-Żoliborz.
- Agnieszka Stachniak-Rogalska, president of the District Court for Warszawa-Żoliborz, nominated by Ziobro’s ministry. She signed the letters of support for Dariusz Drajewicz and Rafał Puchalski to the new NCJ.
- Stanisław Zdun, vice-president of the District Court for the Capital City of Warsaw, nominated by Minister Ziobro. He became famous when in 2015, shortly after the PiS won the elections, he issued a verdict acquitting right-wing journalist, Wojciech Sumliński, of charges of corruption during the verification of the military intelligence services. It was he who questioned President Bronisław Komorowski during the trial at Sumliński’s request, as the journalist suspected him of unclear connections with the military services. Judge Zdun’s sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
List of promoted judges who worked or still work for Minister Ziobro
The President also promoted judges, who had worked on secondment at the Ministry of Justice, to the Regional Court in Warsaw on Tuesday 23 February. These are judges:
- Joanna Dębkowska-Matwijów, worked on secondment at the Ministry of Justice. Judge Malinowska, a former vice-president of the Regional Court in Warsaw, who was dismissed by Ziobro’s ministry, was consulted on her promotion. Malinowska gave her opinion while she was working on secondment at the Ministry of Justice. The opinion was negative. Judge Malinowska is facing disciplinary charges for this because, in her opinion, she criticized judges entering recruitment to the new NCJ, the legality of which she questions.
- Agnieszka Golaszewska, worked on secondment in Zbigniew Ziobro’s ministry. She was the deputy director of the civil law legislative department. She also signed the letter of support for the new NCJ for Jarosław Dudzicz and Joanna Michałowicz-Kołodziej.
- Stanisław Gradus-Wojciechowski, it arises from unofficial information obtained by OKO.press that he worked on secondment at the Ministry of Justice.
- Aleksandra Rutkowska, it arises from unofficial information obtained by OKO.press that she worked on secondment at the Ministry of Justice. Until now, she had been a district judge from Wrocław. She signed a letter of support to the new NCJ for Jędrzej Kondek. Her husband, Judge Dariusz Rutkowski from the Regional Court in Wrocław unsuccessfully ran for appointment to the Disciplinary Chamber. He also signed letters of support to the new NCJ. Judge Rutkowska has substantive qualifications; she also underwent an internship at the ECHR.
- Kamila Spalińska, currently works on secondment at Ziobro’s ministry. She is the deputy director of the Court System Legislative Department. However, in practice, she is the head of the department, as the position of director in it is vacant. It is this department that is supposed to prepare the final crackdown on independent judges. In other words, the liquidation of the current ordinary courts and the establishment of two new courts. This move will allow the PiS authorities to vet all judges in Poland and get rid of judges who criticize minister Ziobro’s ‘reforms’.
- Andrzej Vertun, it arises from unofficial information obtained by OKO.press that he worked on secondment at the Ministry of Justice. He became famous for his verdict that the police do not have to apologize to Ryszard Petru and Katarzyna Lubnauer for invigilating them during the anti-government protests.
- Aleksandra Ziółkowska-Majkowska, works on secondment at the Ministry of Justice. She is the deputy director of the civil law legislative department. She was also nominated vice-president of the District Court for the Capital City of Warsaw by the ministry.
Spouses, partners and assistant to Ziobro’s disciplinary commissioners
We also found spouses and partners of the ‘good change’ judges and an assistant to the disciplinary commissioners Piotr Schab, Przemysław Radzik and Michał Lasota on the list of those promoted by the President to the office of Regional Court judges in Warsaw. It is they who are prosecuting independent judges. Among those promoted are:
- Beata Adamczyk-Łabuda, recently appointed press officer of the Regional Court in Warsaw for criminal matters. She took over this position when Piotr Schab, the chief disciplinary commissioner became president of the court (replacing Joanna Bitner). Adamczyk-Łabuda previously worked in the office of the chief disciplinary commissioner, which prosecutes independent judges. She is privately connected with the vice-president of the Regional Court for Warszawa-Praga, Jacek Łabuda (nominated by Ziobro’s ministry, he took over the post from his predecessor, whose term of office had expired).
- Anna Krawczyk, ex-wife of Łukasz Piebiak, former deputy minister of justice.
- Joanna Oliwa, privately partner of Judge Dariusz Drajewicz, a member of the new NCJ. She signed the letters of support for Dariusz Drajewicz and Rafał Puchalski to the NCJ. She was an electoral commissioner.
- Rafał Schmidt, spouse of the vice-president of the District Court for the Capital City of Warsaw, Dominika Schmidt.
The President also promoted Judge Iwona Szymańska, privately, the wife of the Minister for European Union Affairs, Konrad Szymański. Szymańska is a long-serving judge with a track record of independent judgments, including those that are beneficial for participants of the anti-government protests. We are only writing about her nomination in the name of openness of the process of appointing judges.
How members of the new NCJ are promoted
President Andrzej Duda’s nominations will not be the end of allowing judges who cooperated with the ‘good change’ to move up the judicial ranks. We have written many times that the new NCJ also gives promotions to its members, judges who have served the ‘good change’ well, or their spouses and partners. As TVN24 reported, over the past three years, the new NCJ has dealt with 16 such nominations. The president has already appointed some of those nominated for promotion, while others are waiting. And there are already further applications for promotions from ‘their own judges’.
Such promotions were applied for by members of the new NCJ:
- Dariusz Drajewicz, from the District Court for Warszawa-Mokotów. He was promoted by the new NCJ to the illegal Disciplinary Chamber, but the President has not appointed him for a year. And he recently entered the recruitment procedure for the office of judge of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw. The law prohibits running in two recruitments at once, so he will have to choose which court he prefers. Drajewicz is known to have worked simultaneously in several positions in the justice system. He was vice-president of the Regional Court in Warsaw, but he was not overworked in this position. He adjudicated on secondment in the Court of Appeal. After resigning as vice-president of the court, he found additional work at the National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution.
- Grzegorz Furmankiewicz, was promoted from the district court to the Regional Court in Krosno, where he is vice-president.
- Joanna Kołodziej-Michałowicz, was promoted from the District Court in Słupsk to judge of the Regional Court in Słupsk (the President has not yet appointed her).
- Zbigniew Łupina, from the District Court in Biłgoraj, is applying for promotion to the office of judge of the Supreme Administrative Court.
- Maciej Nawacki, president of the District Court in Olsztyn, nominated by Minister Ziobro. He was promoted to the office of judge of the Regional Court in Olsztyn. However, the NCJ extinguished his candidacy, because, while waiting for his appointment by the President, he also entered the recruitment to the Supreme Administrative Court.
- Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka, president of the Regional Court in Kraków on Ziobro’s nomination. She was promoted to the office of judge of the Regional Court in Kraków. The President has already promoted her.
- Rafał Puchalski, President of the Regional Court in Rzeszów, nominated by Minister Ziobro. He was promoted to the Disciplinary Chamber and is waiting for the President’s decision.
How the commendable for the good change and their families are promoted
The new NCJ also gave promotions to Ziobro’s disciplinary commissioners, who are known for prosecuting independent judges. They were received by:
- Piotr Schab, chief disciplinary commissioner and president of the Regional Court in Warsaw, nominated by Ziobro. He was promoted to the Court of Appeal in Warsaw. He has already been appointed by the President.
- Przemysław Radzik, deputy disciplinary commissioner and recently appointed vice-president of the Regional Court in Warsaw. He was promoted to the Court of Appeal in Warsaw. He is waiting for his appointment.
- Michał Lasota, second deputy commissioner and president of the District Court in Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, appointed by Ziobro. He was promoted to the Regional Court in Elbląg, recently appointed by the President.
Translated by Roman Wojtasz
The text was posted at OKO.press on 24 February 2021.