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Ombudsman: there is no conflict of powers between the president and the Supreme Administrative Court

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The Commissioner for Human Rights assessed that from the legal point of view there was no conflict of powers between the president and the Supreme Administrative Court. Therefore, the case of the president’s application regarding such a dispute over powers should be discontinued by the Constitutional Tribunal, stated the Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights announced on its website on Monday that the position of the Commissioner for Human Rights had been submitted to the Constitutional Tribunal Marcin Wiącek. “The Defender joins the proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal regarding the dispute over powers. Marcin Wiącek requests the discontinuation of the proceedings due to the inadmissibility of issuing a ruling,” it was reported.

Constitutional Court in mid-March, he acted on the president’s motion to settle the dispute over powers between the Supreme Administrative Court and the president. It concerns the possibility of controlling the appointments of judges by the Supreme Administrative Court.

“The subject of the dispute over powers is the resolution of the question whether the appointment of judges by the President of the Republic of Poland and the ensuing right to interpret the provisions of the Constitution in this respect is the exclusive competence of the President of the Republic of Poland, which he exercises at the request of the National Council of the Judiciary personally, definitively, without the participation and interference of the Supreme Administrative Court, or this competence may also be subject to the control of the Supreme Administrative Court” – it was reported in March.

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Ombudsman: there is no competence dispute

The Commissioner for Human Rights noted in his position – referring to the President’s request – that “the situation described as the background and cause of the request did not take place in the relations between the President of the Republic of Poland and the Supreme Administrative Court, and consequently it is not a dispute over powers within the meaning of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and the Constitutional Tribunal Act.” .

According to the President’s application, the Constitutional Tribunal, when settling this dispute, should determine, among other things, whether the provisions of the constitution can be interpreted in such a way that it is allowed to grant the Supreme Administrative Court the power to control the appointment of a judge by the President of the Republic of Poland, in particular to assess the effectiveness of granting that judge the right to exercise judicial power.

In his application, the president also asked for a decision whether, in the light of the constitution, the Supreme Administrative Court is entitled to make a binding interpretation of the provisions of the constitution in connection with the president’s exercise of powers to appoint judges, in particular whether this court may determine the conditions for the effectiveness of the appointment of a judge.

Ombudsman Marcin WiącekLeszek Szymanski/PAP

In the justification for the application, the president wrote that the Supreme Administrative Court issued a number of rulings regarding appeals against resolutions of the National Council of the Judiciary on the appointment of judges. As the president pointed out, the Supreme Administrative Court then assessed the correctness and effectiveness of the appointment of Supreme Court judges by the president, and in particular the effectiveness of granting these judges the right to exercise judicial power.

Thus, according to the President, the Supreme Administrative Court exceeded its constitutional powers and entered the sphere of constitutional powers of the President of the Republic of Poland to appoint judges. It is about a dozen or so judgments issued by the Supreme Administrative Court after complaints filed in 2018. At that time, this court annulled some of the challenged resolutions of the National Court Register regarding the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.

Ombudsman: resolutions of the National Court Register do not have legal effects

“The Commissioner for Human Rights emphasizes that the judgments of the Supreme Administrative Court in question did not refer to the decisions of the President of the Republic of Poland regarding the appointment of judges. Therefore, these judgments could not infringe or encroach on the powers of the President of the Republic of Poland to appoint judges” – noted the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, informing about the position of the Commissioner in this case.

According to the Commissioner for Human Rights, the rulings of the Supreme Administrative Court, which were referred to in the President’s application, did not lead “to undermining the decisions of the President of the Republic of Poland on the appointment of judges, they did not result in the annulment or ineffectiveness of the acts of appointment, deprivation of judges of the right to adjudicate or other types of consequences identical to the dismissal of a judge. ex officio or suspension from office.

“This was confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court itself, which stated that the judgments partially repealing the challenged resolutions of the National Court Register do not have legal effects with regard to the decisions of the head of state” – added the Commissioner for Human Rights.

Office of the Human rightsTVN24

In the President’s application to the Constitutional Tribunal, it was also indicated that the Supreme Administrative Court planned to resolve another case that could lead to the review of the act of appointing Supreme Court judges in terms of legality. This court wanted to deal with a complaint against the President’s decision of October 2018 on the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court, which was submitted by one of the candidates not selected by the National Council of the Judiciary.

According to the president, the Supreme Administrative Court was about to issue a verdict in this case. “In this way, the Supreme Administrative Court is considered competent to resolve the issue directly related to the shape of the constitutional institution of appointing a judge, which is the exclusive power of the President of the Republic of Poland” – wrote the president in his application to the Constitutional Tribunal.

“The Supreme Administrative Court did nothing, in particular, it did not issue any ruling that could suggest the emergence of a ‘high probability of the emergence of a dispute over powers in the near future’. The action which aroused the applicant’s concerns was the appointment of a hearing, which cannot be considered as an announcement of a dispute over powers in the given above meaning” – the Commissioner referred to these arguments in the application in his position.

The Supreme Administrative Court suspends the proceedings, issues an assessment of the dispute

In mid-March, the Supreme Administrative Court informed that due to the President’s initiation of a dispute over powers in the Constitutional Tribunal, the cassation proceedings relating to the President’s decision to appoint Supreme Court judges had been suspended.

At the beginning of April, the Supreme Administrative Court submitted its position on this issue to the Constitutional Tribunal. He decided that the case of the president’s motion concerning the dispute over powers should be discontinued, because – in the opinion of the Supreme Administrative Court – there is no such dispute in real terms.

With regard to the dispute over powers, the Constitutional Tribunal should also submit the position of the Prosecutor General. There is currently no deadline for the court to consider the president’s request.

Main photo source: TVN24



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