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    30 “old judges” of the Supreme Court refused to adjudicate with “new judges”

    According to Daily Legal Newspaper (Polish: Dziennik Gazeta Prawna), 30 judges of the Supreme Court have stated that they will not adjudicate jointly with persons appointed to that court in the procedure involving the present National Council of the Judiciary. “In such a situation, joining the proceedings and passing judgments is unacceptable”. The group of so-called old judges who issued such a declaration includes President of the Criminal Chamber Michał Laskowski, President of the Chamber of Labour and Social Insurance Piotr Prusinowski, Włodzimierz Wróbel, and Dariusz Zawistowski.

    Referring to the Resolution of the formation of the combined Civil Chamber, Criminal Chamber, and Labour Law and Social Security Chamber dated 23 January 2020, the judges wrote that the participation of a judge appointed at the request of the current National Council of the Judiciary in the composition of the Supreme Court in each case leads to an undue court members. They emphasized that the indicated resolution had the force of a legal principle that would be binding on every judge of the Supreme Court.

    “In such a situation, entering into the procedure and passing of judgments is unacceptable. It cannot be considered that the procedure is vitiated by a qualified procedural defect and at the same time it cannot be stated that the judge is obliged to knowingly participate in this defective procedure”, they wrote.

    The statement also emphasized that the jurisprudence of ECHR in Strasbourg determined that the adjudication of judges appointed at the request of the current National Criminal Justice constitutes a violation of the right to a fair trial. At the same time, they stated that “after exhausting the systemic and procedural measures guaranteeing the parties to obtain the correct composition of the court,” they would not participate in activities undertaken by panels with the participation of the so-called new judges of the Supreme Court.

    It was also emphasized that the declaration did not constitute a refusal to adjudicate.

    Judge of the Supreme Court, Kamil Zaradkiewicz, emphasized that in 2022, during work on the draft amendments to the Act on the Supreme Court implementing the judgments of the CJEU, the provision which equated such statements with the resignation of the office of judge was abandoned. He has a solution for judges who do not want to adjudicate jointly with other judges.

    “Let them relinquish office.  In administrative courts, including the Supreme Administrative Court, not only no one question appeared about the “new” judges but even adjudicates on the compliance of their appointments with the so-called European standards. This shows the real motives of the conflict.”, he said on Twitter.


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