“On August 16, 2021, the European Commission received a reply to the letter of Commissioner D. Reyders of July 20, concerning the recent rulings of the Court of Justice of the EU,” the Government Information Center informed on Tuesday. It is about the Disciplinary Chamber not recognized by the Supreme Court, which Poland is obliged to suspend by the ruling of the CJEU.
In mid-July Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the system of disciplinary liability of judges in Poland is inconsistent with EU law. The day before, the CJEU obliged Poland to “immediately suspend” the provisions on the powers of the unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court. The EC ultimatum for the response to the Polish government expired on Monday. The EC expected the Polish government to comply with the decision and judgment of the CJEU regarding the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and warned that “in the event of failure to comply with this request, the Commission will request the CJEU to impose a penalty on Poland”.
August 5 the first president of the Supreme Court, Małgorzata Manowska, issued two ordinances limiting the activities of the Disciplinary Chamber. This meant the change of the position of the first president of the Supreme Court. Initially, Manowska made a decision which led to the fact that – contrary to the position of the European tribunal – judges of the Disciplinary Chamber adjudicated on disciplinary cases.
He criticized her for the partial freezing of the Disciplinary Chamber Zbigniew Ziobro, Minister of Justice.
The Polish government responds to the European Commission on CJEU rulings. Statement from the Government Information Center
The CIR announced that in response to the European Commission it was communicated that Poland would continue changes in the judiciary. It was indicated that there are plans to liquidate the Disciplinary Chamber in its present form.
The announcement also added that the European Commission had been informed that Poland had submitted a request to revoke the CJEU’s decision to apply an interim measure in the case of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court. The application is based on the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 14 July.
The Government Information Center also informed that the Commission had been informed about the orders issued by the First President of the Supreme Court in the case of the Disciplinary Chamber. It was emphasized that the government had no measures which would suspend the operation of the chamber without violating the independence of the judiciary.
Full text of the announcement by the Government Information Center:
On August 16, 2021, the European Commission received a reply to the letter of Commissioner D. Reyders of July 20, concerning the recent rulings of the Court of Justice of the EU – the decision of August 14 this year. on the application of an interim measure in case C-204/21 R and the judgment of 15 July this year in case C-791/19, in which the Commissioner also drew attention to the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 14 July this year. in case P 7/20. Referring to the doubts of the Commission related to the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 14 July this year in case P 7/20, in the reply it was pointed out that the Constitutional Tribunal has been reviewing the constitutionality of EU law since Poland’s accession to the European Union, emphasizing that the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, in accordance with its Art. 8 sec. 1, is the highest law in Poland, and its supremacy over statutes and ratified international agreements also results from the principle of national sovereignty, established in Art. 4 sec. 1 of the Constitution. The response included a summary of the Polish jurisprudence of the Constitutional Tribunal from 2005-2021 and recalled over a dozen of the most important judgments of the constitutional courts of other Member States (including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Romania and Spain) in similar cases. It was noted that the judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal and other national constitutional courts had not raised any doubts on the part of the European Commission so far. It was indicated that the problem of the relationship between national law and EU law occurs in many Member States, whose constitutional courts emphasize the primacy of national constitutions in their jurisprudence and adopt a strict definition of the scope of competences entrusted to the European Union. Moreover, the Commission was informed about the orders of the First President of the Supreme Court, pursuant to which the Disciplinary Chamber will not refer new cases concerning judges to the Supreme Court for examination. It was emphasized that the government had no measures which, without violating the principle of the independence of the judiciary, could suspend the operation of the court chamber and the effects of its decisions. The response also indicated that the ineffectiveness of the system of criminal and disciplinary liability of judges has been a problem of the Polish justice system for many years and one of the reasons for low trust in it in Polish society. The effectiveness of the system of disciplinary liability of judges and other legal professionals is fundamental to the trust and credibility of the judiciary in every Member State. Such a system must meet the criteria of impartiality and legal certainty, as well as ensure the right to a fair trial, which is also pointed out by the Court of Justice in its judgment of 15 July this year. Therefore, Poland will continue reforms of the judiciary, also in the areas of judges’ responsibility, aimed at improving the efficiency of this system. In this context, the plans to dismantle the Disciplinary Chamber in its current form were announced as part of the next phase of judicial reform, which is expected to start in the coming months. At the same time, the Commission was informed that Poland exercised its procedural rights by submitting a motion to set aside the ruling of the Court of Justice of August 14 this year. on the application of an interim measure in case C-204/21 R concerning the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court. The application is based on the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 14 July this year. in case P 7/20.
Justice: Polish authorities have not complied with the CJEU judgments
The Iustitia Association of Polish Judges took a position on the passing ultimatum of the CJEU for the Polish government. “For a month, the Polish authorities performed only sham actions, acting according to the principle of five steps forward, one step back” – said the president of Iustitia, Professor Krystian Markiewicz.
“A visible sign of the enforcement of the Court’s judgments is whether [sędziowie – przyp. red.] Igor Tuleya and Paweł Juszczyszyn were restored to adjudication. This, of course, did not happen. The presidents, Maciej Nawacki and Piotr Schab, who are subordinate to Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, disregard the Court’s decision. This shows that today the leadership of Polish courts distances itself from the European judiciary. Only independent judges remain, who are persecuted by various methods, commented Bartłomiej Przymusiński, spokesman for Iustitia.
“We monitor the activities of the Disciplinary Chamber, further cases are set in it, as if nothing had happened. Ms Manowska’s orders are changed every few days, but their guiding principle is to treat defectively appointed judges as correctly appointed judges. It is turning the case on its head” – Markiewicz summed up.
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