The European Union addresses the lack of independence of Polish judges

Polish judges have been complaining about the lack of independence and the pressure that they have been subjected to directly or indirectly . One of the most famous cases on this subject is Igor Tuleya, which perfectly illustrates the flaws of Polish judicial system.

Since 2018, the European Union has been taking direct actions to remediate such situations by initiating several cases involving Poland and the autonomy of its judiciary.

In October 2019, Brussels started acting more decisively. The European Commission brought an action against Poland (Case C-791/19), pointing out that Polish legal reforms regarding the judiciary are incompatible with European Law – precisely, articles 19.1 TEU and 276 of the TFEU.

In January 2020, the so-called “Muzzle Law”was being discussed at the Polish Senate and was described as an extraordinary attacks on the judicial power in Poland.Despite this, the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) granted the European Commission the application of interim measures until the decision of the case had not been taken, namely:

(1) suspending the application of the provisions constituting the basis of the jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Commission of the Polish Supreme Court to rule in disciplinary cases concerning judges.

(2) not to refer to cases pending before the Disciplinary Commission before a panel whose composition does not meet the requirements of independence.

(3) communicating to the Commission, at the latest one month after notification of the order of the Court of Justice imposing the requested interim measures, all the measures adopted to comply with that order.

The Commission also underlined the possibility of paying a fine in case Poland would not be complying fully with the interim measures ordered after its requests for interim relief.

On 30th April 2020, the hearing in which Poland was meant to explain the interim measures was postponed due to COVID-19. The Court has decided to prioritize the most urgent cases. However, during the second half of 2020, Poland will need to thoroughly explain the legal changes taken to ensure the independence and the impartiality of the judiciary. The internal measures will be followed by a final and binding judgement for all Polish authorities.

This final judgement will not only be incredibly significant  for Poland, but also for some other countries such as Hungary or Czech Republic, where the independence of judicial power is aslo being questioned.

Sur le même thème