Poland’s ruling conservatives move to reinstate Supreme Court judges
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland’s ruling conservatives on Wednesday submitted legislation to parliament to reinstate retired Supreme Court judges in an apparent effort to defuse a protracted rule-of-law spat with Brussels.
Photo: Activedia/pixabay.com/CC0 Creative Commons
Conservative MP Marek Ast told reporters that the proposal, sponsored by his governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, was designed to amend a disputed law regulating the work of the country's Supreme Court.
The legislation "is in line with the expectations of the Court of Justice of the European Union" and aims to repeal provisions under which judges above the age of 65 were forced into retirement earlier this year, Ast said.
"If the legislation comes into force, these judges will be able to return to the Supreme Court," Ast added, as quoted by public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.
The Court of Justice of the European Union in October issued an interim injuction ruling that the contested reforms to Poland’s Supreme Court should be suspended.
That move by the EU's top court came after the European Commission launched a lawsuit against Poland amid a legal row between Warsaw and Brussels.
The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union last week held a hearing on interim measures aiming to halt the Polish Supreme Court reform, which has seen many of the judges, including the chief justice, forced into retirement.
In July, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm launched a procedure against Warsaw over the reform, saying that it undermined “the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges.”
The move followed the European Commission last December taking the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over judicial reforms and possibly paving the way for sanctions being imposed on Poland.
But Poland's governing Law and Justice party, which came to power in late 2015, has said that sweeping changes were needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past, accusing judges of being an elite, self-serving clique often out of touch with the problems of ordinary citizens.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last year that his country’s judicial system was “deeply flawed” and that his ruling conservatives were elected with a mandate to overhaul it.