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    The political battle over Polish judicial reform is far from over

    The political and legal battle over Polish judicial reform is far from over. The Polish parliament has passed an amendment to the Common and Supreme courts bill. The amendment now goes to the Senate, where the opposition has a majority over the ruling Law and Justice party, and may delay the passing of the bill by a month. The European Commission also hasn’t had its final word on what is clearly an internal matter for Poland.

    The opposition hopes the Senate will rule to reject the amendment.

     “I hope that the Senate will carefully sit on this matter and ask important questions. I believe, that based on these questions and the answers to them the higher chamber will bin this amendment”- says Marcin Kierwiński, The Civic Coaltion.

    Yesterday, the speaker of the Senate, Tomasz Grodzki, said that the chamber won’t be obstructing work on the bill, at the same time stating that the Senate will carefully examine the amendment using all of its legislative means. If it presents adjustments to the amendment in time, the bill will have to go back to the Parliamentary Justice Commission which can accept it or reject it entirely or partially. Then, the lower chamber or Sejm can reject the amendments of the Senate and pass the bill in its original form anyway, if it’s voted for by a definite majority with at least half of the chamber present.

     “To question now the choice of justices who were lawfully appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary is extremely dangerous to the rule of law in Poland, not the other way around. The president himself approved our solutions and said the changes are necessary”- says Michał Woś, Secretary of state in The Council of Ministers.

    The deputy president of the European Commission Vera Jourova sent letters yesterday to the Polish president, prime minister and speakers of Sejm and Senate, asking them to stop the judicial reform. Tomasz Grodzki responded on twitter by assuring Jourova, that the Senate will thoroughly check all amendments which may allegedly violate the rule of law in the country.

     “It’s a mistake and a total lack of professionalism. It’s only a technical and general comment. This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, which clearly states that matters of the judiciary are resolved internally by member countries”- says Ryszard Czarnecki, Mep of The Law and Justice party.

    The Senate has now 30 days to debate the amendment, after which it will be passed to the president.  
     

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