The European Court of Human Rights found that the Extraordinary Audit Chamber of the Court is not an independent and independent court, because the system of appointing judges is inadequate. The verdict may be of importance in the discussion on the legality of the appointment of all judges on the recommendation of the new National Council of the Judiciary.
The case concerns two judges: Monika Dolińska-Ficek and Artur Ozimek. In 2017 and 2018, they applied for judicial promotions. However, the new National Council of the Judiciary issued negative recommendations. For this reason, the judges appealed to the Supreme Court, and the Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs Chamber dismissed their complaints.
Thus, the judges from Poland complained to the ECtHR, accusing Poland of breaching their right to a fair trial. They also alleged that the Chamber was not an independent and impartial tribunal. They argued that such independence was not guaranteed by the fact that judges were placed there on the recommendation of the new National Council of the Judiciary, whose members-judges were elected by politicians.
Judgment in the case of Reczkowicz v. Poland
In July, in a very similar matter – attorney Joanna Reczkowicz – The ECtHR ruled that the method of appointing judges to the unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court violates the European Convention on Human Rights and also violates the right to a fair trial.
At that time, the guarantee of independence of judges appointed on the recommendation of the Polish National Council of the Judiciary was also questioned. The lawyer was awarded compensation in the amount of EUR 15,000.
Disciplinary Chamber unrecognized and doubts about the new National Council of the Judiciary
The Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, in the opinion of many lawyers, constitutionalists and judges, is not a court within the meaning of the law. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) fined Poland at the end of October in the amount of one million euros a day for failing to comply with its earlier decision on the obligation to cease its activities by the chamber.
On July 14, the CJEU obliged Poland to “immediately suspend” the provisions on the powers of the non-recognized chamber. A day later, it also ruled that the system of disciplinary liability of judges in Poland is not consistent with EU law.
For several months now, the government has been announcing a change in the system of disciplining judges and talking about the liquidation of the chamber. So far, however, no concrete solutions have been proposed.
October 28 a new National Council of the Judiciary – which dealt, inter alia, with the cast of the unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber – was removed from the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ). Network chairman Filippo Donati said the ENCJ “recognized that the Polish National Council of the Judiciary does not uphold the independence of the Polish judiciarydoes not defend judges in a way that would be compatible with its declared role as guarantor of the independence of the judiciary. “
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