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Plans for changes in the judiciary. Stanisław Biernat about Zbigniew Ziobro and the conflict with the Union

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Stanisław Biernat, a retired judge of the Constitutional Tribunal, spoke on TVN24 about the state of the rule of law in Poland and the conflict with the European Union on this background. – Fulfilling the European Commission’s recommendations on the independence of the judiciary would require a great deal of legislative action. But the actions of the minister of justice go in a completely different direction – he said. According to Biernat, Zbigniew Ziobro “exacerbates the crisis” in relations between Warsaw and Brussels.

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented on Tuesday “recommendations” for Poland, the fulfillment of which would enable the disbursement of funds from the Reconstruction Fund. – The recommendation for Poland is as follows: restore the independence of the judiciary, liquidate the Disciplinary Chamber, reinstate unlawfully dismissed judges. Please do so, she said, addressing Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.


Biernat: this is a task that would require a great many legislative measures

The guest of TVN24 on Wednesday morning was Professor Stanisław Biernat, a retired judge of the Constitutional Tribunal.

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He was asked how the words about “restoring the independence of the judiciary” should be understood. – This task is defined very broadly. This means that both the legal and factual status should be such that the courts are a separate and independent authority and that the influence of the executive is limited. The laws that limit the independence of judges would have to be repealed, he said.

This – said Biernat – “a task that would require a great many legislative and executive measures”.

He stressed that “the current political conditions are not favorable” for such changes, because “the latest plans of the Ministry of Justice regarding the so-called reorganization of the judiciary go in exactly the opposite direction”.

Biernat on the recommendations of the European Commission on restoring the independence of the judiciaryTVN24

Biernat: Ziobro aims to exacerbate the crisis

In this way, Biernat commented on the government’s plans regarding changes in the justice system. Jaroslaw Kaczynski he said on Saturday on the RMF FM radio that “this anarchy that prevails in Polish courts must be mastered” he said that according to the government plan “all courts will have the status of district courts”, and the Supreme Court “will be a small court, whose task will be ordering the jurisprudence “.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said that “a package of projects changing the judiciary, ranging from the common judiciary to the Supreme Court, has been prepared in the Ministry of Justice for a long time”.

Zbigniew ZiobroPAP / Mateusz Marek

– A few days ago, a publication of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights was published presenting the constitutional and legal conditions of such a reform with the punch line that these intentions are inconsistent with the constitution, because in fact they require verification of all judges – said Biernat.

He added that “whether it consists in the elimination of the lowest level or the highest level, or the creation of regional courts as branches of regional courts, these are all apparent actions”. – In fact, the point will be that someone – read the minister of justice – will have to decide the fate of all judges. In addition, there is a plan to reorganize the Supreme Court, which in fact involves the liquidation of the current Supreme Court and the retirement of three-fourths of the composition – he said.

In his opinion, “it is evident that the Ministry of Justice, Minister Ziobro, is seeking a confrontation with the European Union.” – In a situation of crisis in Poland’s relations with the EU, it does not aim to alleviate this crisis, but on the contrary – to aggravate it – emphasized the guest of TVN24.

Main photo source: PAP / Mateusz Marek

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