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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Changes in the Supreme Court. Session of the Parliamentary Justice and Human Rights Committee

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On Wednesday evening, the Sejm’s justice and human rights committee dealt with the draft amendment to the law on the Supreme Court. The Minister for European Affairs, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, assured that he had been consulted with the European Commission. – I clearly negatively assess this project – said the first president of the Supreme Court, Małgorzata Manowska. She also pointed to his “biggest flaw”.

On Wednesday, the Sejm began work on a draft amendment to the Law on the Supreme Court, which – according to the authors – is to complete a key “milestone” for the European Commission to unlock funds from the KPO. The Sejm did not agree to the rejection of the bill in the first reading, as requested by the Confederation, and referred the bill to the Justice and Justice Committee for work human rights. During the Sejm vote, 34 deputies supported this motion, 414 were against it, and one person abstained from voting.

At the beginning of the evening meeting of the committee, the floor was taken by, among others, the Minister of European Affairs, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk. – The proposed bill was consulted with the European Commission, it was the result of talks with the European Commission (…) The variant that is being submitted has been assessed by the Commission as a basis for completing the “milestone” – he said.

Deputy Minister of Justice Sebastian Kaleta assessed that “unfortunately, this law is a precedent in many areas, and the procedure for its processing is an admission by the Polish parliament” that “European Union has competences regarding the Polish judiciary, which contradicts, among others, judgment of the Polish Constitutional Court.

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Session of the Sejm Justice and Human Rights Committee on the draft concerning changes in the Supreme CourtPAP/Mateusz Marek

Manowska: I clearly negatively evaluate this project

The first president of the Supreme Court, who participated remotely in the meeting, also spoke in the discussion Małgorzata Manowska. “I have an unequivocally negative view of this project,” she said.

In her opinion, “the biggest drawback of this project is the introduction of a test of impartiality, independence of the judge and the establishment of the court on the basis of the act in the proposed form, and thus, among other things, extending the competence to submit an application for such a test to each member of the adjudicating panel”.

– This solution, apart from the fact that it obviously undermines the prerogatives of the president, de facto constitutes a violation of the principle of the irremovability of a judge and independence, and also contradicts the constitutional procedure for appointing a judge in other cases, however, this protection is obviously only apparent – ​​she added.

Statement by the first president of the Supreme Court, Małgorzata Manowska, during a meeting of the parliamentary justice and human rights committeeTVN24

Amendment dispute

According to the draft, he will decide disciplinary and immunity cases of judges The Supreme Administrative Court, and not – as at present – the recently created Chamber of Professional Liability of the Supreme Court. The draft also provides for extending the scope of the so-called judge’s independence and impartiality test, which could be initiated not only by the party to the proceedings, but also ex officio by the court itself.

this project PiS deputies submitted to the Sejm on December 13 last year. Two days after the draft was submitted, the president declared that he had neither participated in its preparation nor had he been consulted. He announced that he would not agree to solutions that undermine the constitutional system and would not allow any legal act to be introduced into the Polish legal system that would undermine judicial appointments or allow anyone to verify them.

During the Sunday program “Coffee on the Bench” Andrzej Zybertowicz from the Chancellery of the President spokethat “the president has repeatedly said that for him, the limit of acceptance of laws amending the functioning of the judiciary is the inviolability of judicial appointments, due to the stability of legal transactions and due to the fact that during his almost two terms of office, the president appointed about 3,000 people”.

The project was also criticized by PiS coalition partner Solidarna Polska from the beginning. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki met with parliamentarians of Solidarna Polska on the draft amendment to the law on the Supreme Court and the issue of unblocking funds from the National Reconstruction Plan. After the meeting, Deputy Minister of Justice and SP politician Sebastian Kaleta said that his party made its position conditional on a possible agreement between the president and the prime minister that the president would agree to such an act.

Main photo source: PAP/Mateusz Marek

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