Julia Przyłębska stressed with satisfaction in a radio interview that the Constitutional Tribunal is still operating and provided data to prove it. We checked them and compared them with previous years.
President Julia Przyłębska once again assured that the Constitutional Tribunal (TK) she is in charge of works. “When it comes to the functioning of the tribunal, we actually settled fewer cases last year than in the comparable years of 2015 or 2014. Nevertheless, the tribunal settled 91 cases, appointed over 220 deliberations, i.e. the Constitutional Tribunal is working. Already this year, the tribunal issued 10 judgments, appointed 31 deliberations, and yet we are only at the end of February, “said Julia Przyłębska on February 27 in “Trójkowy commentary of the day”. “It’s not that the tribunal is not working. We have well over 300 cases pending. 20 cases in full bench. The tribunal is also active and has a lot of work to do,” she later said.
We checked the data she provided. We also compared them with previous years, also with the period of Andrzej Rzepliński’s presidency.
Under Rzepliński at the beginning of the year, over 20 judgments…
Let us recall: On December 21, 2016, Julia Przyłębska was appointed by Andrzej Duda as the president of the Constitutional Tribunal. She replaced Andrzej Rzepliński, appointed by Bronisław Komorowski on December 3, 2010. During the nomination ceremony Andrzej Duda he wished Przyłębska to put things in order in him. He also wanted “the Tribunal to get down to dynamic work”. Which was a suggestion that under Rzepliński this organ was slow and messy.
In the interview, Julia Przyłębska emphasized, among other things, the work that the constitutional court headed by her had already done this year. She informed about ten rulings and designation 31 sessions. So we took a look at the Internet Portal of Judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal (IPO). We took the period from 2011 (the first full year in the Constitutional Tribunal with Andrzej Rzepliński as president) to 2023. We checked the number of judgments and orders issued only in the first two months of a given year. What have we established?
In the first full year of Andrzej Rzepliński’s presidency, the tribunal issued only January and February 5 judgments (two judgments and three orders). However, in the following years, this number increased significantly and was similar every year – at the beginning of each year it was 22-25 rulingsof which several were decisions, and there were about 10 sentences.
… behind Przyłębska, a few at the beginning
The situation changed dramatically in the last year of Andrzej Rzepliński’s presidency, i.e. in 2016. Only released at the beginning of the year two resolutionsand around the courthouse there was a dispute initiated by the selection of three judges to positions already filled. At the end of 2016, Julia Przyłębska replaced Andrzej Rzepliński as president. The following year for the first two months it was 9 judgments (two judgments, seven provisions). Then, at the beginning of each year, this number did not exceed 10. It was even five times less than during Andrzej Rzepliński’s tenure. In the first two months of two years (2022 and 2022), only after was adjudged four times. In January and February 2020, not a single sentence was issued, and in the last two years – one each.
Interestingly, Julia Przyłębska informed on February 27 in an interview about ten rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal this year. Meanwhile, both the IPO and the website of the Constitutional Tribunal indicate that there were eight such rulings – one judgment and seven orders. We asked the Constitutional Tribunal to clarify this contradiction.
To sum up: the number of judgments (judgments and orders) issued in the first two months of 2023 is one of the highest during the term of office of Julia Przyłębska. But still, compared to the presidency of Andrzej Rzepliński, there are even several times less of them.
The fewest sentences in 24 years
Julia Przyłębska also informed that in 2022 the Constitutional Tribunal settled 91 cases. However, already at the beginning of the year we wrote about itthat during the period of her presidency, in terms of judgments and decisions issued, there would be a clear breakdown.
In 2022, the Constitutional Tribunal issued 14 judgments. This is the least since 24 years and the least since Przyłębska took the chair of the president. The Constitutional Tribunal issued more judgments even during the COVID-19 pandemic: in 2020 – 24, a year later – 19. It issued the most judgments in the first full year with Przyłębska as president and in the second – 36 each; least – last year; in five months (in January, May and August-October) the Constitutional Tribunal did not issue any judgment. From August to October – according to the calendar on the Constitutional Tribunal’s website – one hearing was held.
Comparing these numbers with the years of Andrzej Rzepliński’s tenure, one can see a significant decrease in efficiency. Although when Rzepliński left in 2016 and the Constitutional Tribunal also issued 36 judgments then, in earlier years there were much more: 60-70 per year. Meanwhile, in the last two years, there have been several convictions.
The lower efficiency under Przyłębska’s presidency can also be seen from the analysis of the decisions issued by the Constitutional Tribunal. When Rzepliński was president, there were an average of 61 per year. Under Przyłębska, the tribunal issued an average of 50 per year (although one must remember about the difficulties associated with the coronavirus pandemic). Under Rzepliński, the Constitutional Tribunal issued the most decisions in 2015 – 125; behind Przyłębska in 2021-61.
Back in January 2023, we asked the Constitutional Tribunal for detailed case statistics. After more than a month of waiting, we received an answer that we will find them in the “Information on significant problems arising from the activity and jurisprudence of the Constitutional Tribunal” published on the website of the Tribunal. However, there is only a small part of the data we are interested in.
In the information published by the Constitutional Tribunal, or in other available sources, we did not find the number of meetings of the Constitutional Tribunal in individual years. We asked about these numbers of the Constitutional Tribunal. We are waiting for answer.
Main photo source: Wojciech Olkusnik/PAP