Controversial judicial reform: the European Court of Justice rules again against Poland

Status: 10/6/2021 3:10 PM

The European Court of Justice again ruled against judicial reforms in Poland. The judges called for an independent review of the appeals against the transfer of judges.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has condemned Poland for violating the principle of judicial independence. The court found that Polish judge Waldemar Zurek erroneously refused to file a lawsuit to remove him from office in 2018.

On the other hand, the European Court of Justice commented on the appointment of a judge who rejected Zurek’s appeal in the Extraordinary Review and Public Affairs Chamber of the Supreme Court. The judge was appointed by Polish President Andrzej Duda in 2019 in apparent disregard of the basic rules for appointing judges to the Supreme Court.

She said that if the Polish court followed the assessment of the European Court of Justice, it could be excluded that the judge in question could constitute an independent, impartial and legally established court. In this case, his decision to dismiss Zurek’s appeal should be considered invalid.

Already several rulings against judicial reform

The conservative nationalist PiS government has been working to reorganize the country’s judiciary for years, regardless of international criticism, and has been lobbying judges. The EU Commission has complained about the reforms several times – some of which have been overturned by the European Court of Justice.

It is up to the Polish judiciary to decide how to implement the ECJ decision. This can also be imposed by the European Union through a court decision.

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Polish politicians criticize the decision

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticized the ruling. This is an attempt to attack the stability of the social and legal system at its core, said the 53-year-old from the Palestinian News Agency. The government cannot allow this. The European Court of Justice ruling could hypothetically cause deep chaos. Polish citizens can no longer be sure of the legality of their sentences

Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kalita criticized on Twitter that the European Court of Justice wants to replace the country’s constitutional court and take control of the Polish judiciary itself. The ruling National Law and Justice Party radically changed the judicial system and justified this by its desire to remove structures from the time of communist rule.

Thursday’s major decision

On Thursday, Poland’s Constitutional Court will once again deal with the question of whether Poland’s Basic Law is superior to EU law. A decision on this has already been postponed several times or meetings have been canceled at short notice.

Morawiecki had asked constitutional judges to review a ruling by the European Court of Justice as of March. In it, the EU’s top judges ruled that EU law could compel member states to disregard individual provisions in national law. This applies even if it is a matter of constitutional law.

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