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Poland – EU: Legal dispute over judiciary reform

Top Polish court rules that CJEU’s decision on suspending Polish Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber is unconstitutional

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: TVP Info

The Polish Constitutional Tribunal has decreed that the provision of the EU Treaty, based on which the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has obliged members to apply interim measures concerning their judiciary, is incompatible with the constitution.

A legal inquiry concerning the matter was put forward to the Constitutional Tribunal by the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber. In the inquiry, the Chamber asked about the compatibility of EU regulations concerning imposing interim measures by the CJEU in matters of judiciary.

This inquiry was preceded by the CJEU’s ruling from April 2020, in which the court obliged Poland to suspend provisions concerning the Disciplinary Chamber. The Chamber asked about the compatibility of the EU regulations on interim measures with the Polish constitution.

According to the Chamber, Poland was obliged to execute interim measures by the CJEU despite the fact that “these cases had not been passed over to the EU’s competences based on an international agreement.”

Moreover, the chamber believes that this violated constitutional rules on passing over competencies to international organs or organizations.

Just minutes before the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling, the CJEU upheld all of the European Commission’s requests and issued another ruling concerning enacting interim measures in the case of the Polish judiciary.

The CJEU obliged Poland to “immediately suspend” national provisions relating in particular to the powers of the Disciplinary Chamber. This means that Poland will suspend the Chamber’s activity also in the case of affairs such as judges’ immunities.

On Thursday, July 15, the CJEU plans to release a ruling concerning the European Commission’s lawsuit on introducing a new model of disciplinary responsibility of judges in Poland.