Supreme Court head, judges, forced into early retirement
PR dla Zagranicy
The head of Poland’s Supreme Court is to be forced into early retirement on Tuesday along with more than a third of the court’s other judges under a judicial reform which has come into effect.
Małgorzata Gersdorf. Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk.
The reform sets a retirement age of 65 years for Supreme Court judges.
Some of the judges that are to be forced into retirement on Tuesday have asked Polish President Andrzej Duda to allow them to continue working, which he can accept or reject under the new law.
But Supreme Court First President Małgorzata Gersdorf, who turned 65 two months ago, refused to do so.
She said that the new law is against the constitution, which states that “judges shall be appointed for an indefinite period” and “shall not be removable”.
She said that she would continue in her post until her constitutionally-mandated six-year term runs out in 2020.
The European Commission has said that the new law poses a threat to the independence of the judiciary and “the irremovability of judges” when it launched a legal case against Poland on Monday.
But ruling conservative Law and Justice party spokeswoman Joanna Kopcińska and Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak both said that the party promised judicial reforms during its election campaign ahead of a vote in 2015.
“We pledged to make changes because that is what the people wanted,” Błaszczak said.
He added that the reform was inspired by Western European standards.
The Polish government has said changes are needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system.
Meanwhile, State Tribunal judge Piotr Andrzejewski has slammed the European Commission for launching a new case against Poland, saying that Brussels cannot impose laws on Poland.
And Law and Justice spokeswoman Beata Mazurek asked the European Commission to point to the exact European Union law which Poland’s Supreme Court reform allegedly broke.
Duda invited Gersdoft to meet with him on Tuesday afternoon.
Gersdorf said that she expects to hear that her term as a Supreme Court judge is over. (vb)