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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court on CJEU judgments. The judges “do not feel like the addressee”

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The judges of the unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court issued an order when examining one of the cases, in which they argue that despite the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union “there are no legal obstacles” to adjudication. They wrote that they “did not feel like an addressee” of the CJEU judgments.

On Monday, the unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court was hearing the case of a Wrocław judge, Krzysztof M., who was supposed to drive a car under the influence of alcohol. The chamber decided to suspend the judge and reduced his remuneration by 50 percent during the suspension. Before adopting a resolution in this case, the judging panel examining it issued a decision in which it stated that there were no legal obstacles to hearing the case. The case was heard by judges: Sławomir Niedzielak and Konrad Wytrykowski and a juror Bogusława Rutkowska.


The justification of the decision discusses the scope of the CJEU rulings, their effectiveness and the competences of the Tribunal itself. The judges argue that the judgments of the CJEU are not normative acts, and the content of the EU treaties does not provide for an obligation to apply them directly. “This means that although both the provisional decision and the judgment require a specific action, until their implementation, they do not independently affect the Polish legal order and the functioning of any entities, including state authorities” – it was written.

The adjudicating panel stated that the state “cannot act at the beck and call of the CJEU”. “The state acts through its organs competent in the issues determined by the CJEU rulings. It must act in accordance with the provisions of national law” – we read.

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The judges of the Disciplinary Chamber “do not feel like an addressee” of the CJEU judgments

As the judges of the unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber wrote, the Supreme Court adjudicating in this case “does not feel the addressee of any of the above-mentioned judgments”. “The addressees of them, in accordance with the presented arguments, are the Republic of Poland, acting through its organs exercising their powers specified by the Constitution and statutes. Until the relevant laws are passed by the parliament, signed by the President and effectively promulgated in the Journal of Laws, failure to comply with the content of the applicable law by the court would be a gross failure by public officials to fulfill their duties, “we read.

“The Supreme Court is of the opinion that, even more so at a time when there are repeated attempts to limit the sovereignty of the Republic of Poland, it is particularly important for judges to fulfill their tasks and act based on the content of statutes and the Constitution,” it was written.

“Regardless of the attacks on Supreme Court judges adjudicating in the Disciplinary Chamber, media lynching, and the ostracism of the judiciary community, the current court shares the view of one of the greatest Poles in history that everyone finds their own Westerplatte in life. and complete. Some just cause which cannot be fought for. Some duty, duty which cannot be dodged. One cannot desert it “- the judges wrote, quoting Pope John Paul II.


CJEU on the Disciplinary Chamber

In mid-July CJEU ruled that the system of disciplinary liability of judges in Poland is inconsistent with EU law. The day before, the CJEU obliged Poland to suspend the application of provisions concerning, in particular, the powers of the unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, also in cases of lifting judicial immunities. On the same day, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the provision of the EU Treaty, pursuant to which the CJEU obliges the Member States to apply interim measures in matters of the judiciary, is inconsistent with the Constitution.

Last Friday the first president of the Supreme Court, Małgorzata Manowska addressed letters to the president, prime minister and marshals of the Sejm and Senate with an appeal for the head of state to use a legislative initiative that would allow the system of disciplinary liability to function “effectively and without objections” in Poland and to undertake legislative work on this matter.

Already in 2019, the Chamber of Labor and Social Security of the Supreme Court stated that the Disciplinary Chamber “cannot be considered a court within the meaning of EU or Polish law. It consists of 13 judges appointed by the president at the request of the new National Council of the Judiciary, whose legality is questioned by many Polish lawyers.

Read more: Why cannot the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court be considered a legal court? We explain

Main photo source: TVN24

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