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Constitutional Tribunal on the superiority of EU law over national law. Comments after the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal

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The Constitutional Tribunal decided on Thursday that some provisions of the Treaty on European Union asked by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki are inconsistent with the Polish constitution. Professor Maciej Gutowski from Adam Mickiewicz University commented on the Tribunal’s decision on TVN24. – The Constitution does not give the Polish Constitutional Tribunal the right to evaluate the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It does not decide about it and cannot decide – he assessed.

Constitutional Court President Julia Przyłębska continued the hearing on Thursday, initiated by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s motion from the end of March, regarding the constitutionality of some of the provisions of the Treaty on European Union. The allegations contained in the application of the prime minister, which is nearly 130 pages long, include the question of the compliance with the Polish constitution of the principle of primacy of European Union law and the principle of sincere cooperation between the Union and its member states. On Thursday, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that some of the EU regulations asked by the head of government are inconsistent with the constitution.


Constitutional CourtShutterstock

Prof. Gutowski: The Constitutional Tribunal is wrong

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Professor Gutowski explained that in its rulings, the CJEU “does not comment on the system of Polish judiciary – pointing out that the judiciary system is a matter for the Member States – but only the standard of impartiality and independence that must be guaranteed in each Member State for this system of connected vessels to that the European Union is able to function properly. ” – Every person must have the same standard of jurisprudence in the law of the EU Member States – he emphasized.

In his opinion, “the Tribunal is wrong to say that this ruling (CJEU) may be reviewed by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal”. – The Constitution does not give the Polish Constitutional Tribunal the right to evaluate the judgments of the CJEU. It does not and cannot decide about it – pointed out the professor.

As he said, Poland “firstly must respect the primacy of EU law, because it results from Article 91 (2) of the Constitution, secondly it must comply with binding international law, and thirdly it has expressly agreed in the treaties that it is subject to decisions CJEU “. – I understand that today they are inconvenient for the rulers. Because any changes – made by ordinary laws, there have been no constitutional changes in the last six years – today the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights question as incompatible with the standard of impartiality that is required in the European Union and international conventions – he said Gutowski’s attention.

As he added, “this understanding becomes the subject of the Prime Minister’s application to the Constitutional Tribunal, and today the subject of this interpretative and scope decision of the Constitutional Tribunal”. – So, in short, the Constitutional Tribunal says how it would like to understand the treaties and says that they cannot be understood, like the CJEU, because what it understands by the CJEU is inconsistent with the Polish constitution. Only that the CJEU says nothing about the Polish constitution. He talks about the laws that were adopted within six years and which allowed for the elimination of the standards appropriate to the European state – explained the lawyer.

Prime Minister’s request

The Prime Minister formulated his application to the Constitutional Tribunal after the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in early March on the possibility for courts to control the correctness of the process of appointing a judge. The head of government questioned the provisions which, in the meaning of the challenged understanding, entitle or oblige the authority to withdraw from the application of the Polish constitution or require the application of legal provisions in a manner inconsistent with it.

The prime minister also appealed against the norm of the Treaty within the meaning of which it authorizes or obliges the body to apply a provision which has lost its binding force pursuant to a judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal. Significant constitutional reservations of the Prime Minister are also raised by the provision of EU law he has challenged within the meaning of which the court is entitled to control the independence of judges appointed by the president and the resolutions of the new National Council of the Judiciary on the appointment of judges.

Prime Minister Mateusz MorawieckiPAP / Darek Delmanowicz

Hearings of the Constitutional Tribunal postponed and interrupted several times

The Tribunal dealt with the Prime Minister’s application for the first time on July 13 composed of five judges of the Constitutional Tribunal. In addition to president Przyłębska and judge Bartłomiej Sochański, who is the rapporteur, the composition also included judges: Jakub Stelina, Michał Warciński and Leon Kieres, who had already finished his term in the Constitutional Tribunal.

The participants of the proceedings presented their positions at that time. Representatives of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Sejm and the Public Prosecutor General supported the prime minister’s position on the superiority of the Polish constitution over EU law. The then Ombudsman, Adam Bodnar, disagreed with this opinion.

At that time, the part of the hearing before the Court ended, in which individual participants commented on the positions of the other parties, after which the president Przyłębska ordered a break until July 15th. But on July 14, the date for the continuation of the hearing has remained postponed to August 3. On July 15, the Constitutional Tribunal decided that will consider the case in full court.

A picket in front of the Constitutional TribunalPAP / Piotr Nowak

On July 22, the date of the hearing was postponed again – on August 31. When the case was already dealt with by the full panel, the Tribunal did not proceed to its substantive examination in connection with the applications submitted by the representative of the Human Rights Defender, and President Przyłębska announced a break until September 22. The spokesman filed a motion to exclude judge Stanisław Piotrowicz – the Commissioner for Human Rights indicated, inter alia, that this judge, still as a member of the PiS parliamentary club, was “one of the key politicians who introduced changes to the judiciary”. He also wanted the Constitutional Tribunal to hear the case from the beginning, and the parties presented their positions again.

On September 22, the president TK Julia Przyłębska has announced a break at the hearing before the stage of questions from judges to the participants of these proceedings – as she said – in order, inter alia, to prepare “insightful questions” to the parties by the judges. On 30 September, the Court continued the hearing and put questions to the parties to the proceedings. In the afternoon of the same day, Przyłębska announced a break until October 7.

READ MORE: The trial before the Constitutional Tribunal and the tension between Judge Pawłowicz and the deputy Commissioner >>>

Exchange of views between Krystyna Pawłowicz and the deputy Commissioner for Human RightsTVN24

Main photo source: PAP / Radek Pietruszka

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