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The Constitutional Tribunal has again postponed the hearing on the penalties imposed by the CJEU. “GW”: due to the dispute, there is no full squad

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The Constitutional Tribunal has once again postponed the date of the hearing on EU regulations, on the basis of which the Court of Justice of the European Union imposed penalties on Poland. As “Gazeta Wyborcza” writes, a full composition under the chairmanship of the president is needed to decide, and such a composition could not be assembled. Six members of the Constitutional Tribunal demand the selection of candidates to replace Julia Przyłębska.

The regulations that allowed the Court of Justice of the EU to punish Poland were questioned by the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro. These include penalties for non-compliance with CJEU rulings, including a fine of one million euros per day for non-compliance with a decision on disciplinary jurisdiction.

The Constitutional Tribunal cancels further hearings

The Constitutional Tribunal has a problem with adjudicating the case. “Gazeta Wyborcza” reminded that in February last year its members gathered “literally for a minute”, and in the following months the Constitutional Tribunal set subsequent dates and canceled them without giving reasons.

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The hearing, which was organized in October last year, lasted an hour then chairwoman Julia Przyłębska announced a hiatus until December. Later, the case was postponed first to January 21 and then to March 21. The date has now been changed to April 27.

“GW” wrote that the reason for canceling earlier hearings could be the lack of positions of the president Andrzej Duda and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as to the constitutionality of the provisions. She added that in October last year Przyłębska once again demanded these positions, setting the time for their submission.

Among the documents of the case posted on the Constitutional Tribunal’s website, there is no position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but the position of president emerged. According to him, the Prosecutor General’s argumentation is “in fact correct”, although the conclusion – for various reasons – raises doubts. “It should be emphasized that the Applicant omitted some issues important from the point of view of the justification of the application” – we read in the position.

Impasse in the Constitutional TribunalTVN24

The dispute in the Constitutional Tribunal in the case of Julia Przyłebska

According to “GW”, the hearings canceled last year indicated that the Constitutional Tribunal may not want to settle this case, especially that the negotiations between the Polish government and the European Commission on the payment of frozen money from KPO, which have not yet been unblocked, were in the background. Currently, the newspaper writes, there is another problem, which in practice may prevent the Constitutional Tribunal from adjudicating the case. The penalties imposed on Poland are dealt with by the full team, i.e. at least 11 people out of 15 under the chairmanship of the president, meanwhile, according to six members of the tribunal, he does not have a president today, because the term of office of the current president expired on December 20 last year, after 6 years, and at the same time Przyłębska has no reapply for this position.

They demand the selection of candidates for Przyłębska’s successor, noting that the president is needed to hear cases in a full bench. She maintains that her function as president expires at the end of her term as a judge of the Constitutional Tribunal – December 9, 2024.

READ: Dispute in the Constitutional Tribunal. The General Assembly of Judges issued a resolution on the term of office of Julia Przyłębska

Duda: let the Constitutional Tribunal argue, since it is internally quarreling, and get to work

Duda: let the Constitutional Tribunal argue, since it is internally quarreling, and get to work TVN24

“Gazeta Wyborcza” emphasizes that without six “rebellious” members, the Constitutional Tribunal does not have a full composition. He refers to the information from “Rzeczpospolita” that they did not appear at the meeting of the full bench, which was to deal with the amendment to the law on the Supreme Court addressed to the tribunal by Andrzej Duda.

According to “GW”, an attempt to organize a hearing regarding the CJEU penalties may end in a similar way. The newspaper points out that among the “rebels” there is, among others, Judge Zbigniew Jędrzejewski, who was the rapporteur in this case, which means that he should prepare the draft decision of the Constitutional Tribunal.

READ IN CONTRACT24: Przyłębska assures that the Constitutional Tribunal works and boasts of data. We check

The CJEU imposed penalties on Poland

Prosecutor of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro submitted an application to the Constitutional Tribunal in November 2021 after the CJEU imposed two financial penalties on Poland – regarding Turów mine and the then Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court.

At the end of October 2021, the CJEU ordered Poland to pay the European Commission a fine of EUR 1 million a day for not suspending the application of the provisions relating to the powers of the then Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court towards judges. In November last year, the Polish government filed a motion to suspend the calculation of fines, justifying it, among other things, with the liquidation (in July) of the Disciplinary Chamber. So far, however, the EC is charging Poland with liabilities. According to the estimates of the Association of Judges of Common Courts “Iustitia”, Poland has already had to pay over EUR 500 million in fines in connection with the functioning of the Disciplinary Chamber. European Commission systematically deducts penalties for the Disciplinary Chamber from EU funds in Poland.

Earlier – in September 2021 – the CJEU decided that Poland is to pay the EC EUR 500,000 a day for not implementing interim measures and not stopping lignite mining in the Turów mine.

However, at the beginning of February last year, the case concerning the Turów lignite mine was removed from the CJEU register following a settlement between the Czech Republic and Poland providing for the payment of compensation to the Czech Republic in the amount of EUR 35 million and the transfer of EUR 10 million to the Small Environmental Projects Fund.

Gazeta Wyborcza, tvn24.pl, PAP

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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