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    Polish Minister: Outdated Charges in EU Court Ruling on Judicial Reform

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    The Polish Minister for EU Affairs acknowledged that some charges in the recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on Poland’s judicial reform are outdated. Minister Szynkowski vel Sęk highlighted significant legal changes since 2019 that have rendered parts of the accusations obsolete.

    In Poznań on Monday, Minister Szynkowski vel Sęk addressed the recent ruling by the ECJ, which found that Poland’s reform of the judicial system from December 2019 breached EU law. The European Commission had filed a complaint in April 2021, alleging that the amendments to the law on the organization of common courts, the Supreme Court Act, and several other laws from 2019 violated EU law.

    Minister Szynkowski vel Sęk stated that some of the ECJ’s accusations are no longer applicable:

    “The content of this judgment refers largely to a non-existent legal state. The Disciplinary Chamber has been abolished in the meantime. European law is structured in such a way that the ECJ does not assess the legal situation after subsequent changes have been introduced. The legal state that was challenged has undergone significant changes and was primarily amended by the June 2022 law”

    he explained.

    According to the ECJ, the provisions enacted by the Polish legislature “are inconsistent with the guarantees of access to an independent and impartial tribunal established previously by law. These guarantees imply that national courts are obliged, in certain circumstances, to examine whether they themselves or the judges composing them, or even other judges or courts, meet the requirements provided for in Union law.”

    The Court also ruled that granting “a single national body (the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court) the power to verify compliance with the fundamental requirements concerning effective judicial protection violates EU law.”

    While the ECJ’s ruling represents a significant development, Minister Szynkowski vel Sęk highlighted that subsequent legal changes have rendered some of the accusations outdated. It remains to be seen how these recent amendments will affect the ongoing dispute between Poland and the European Union regarding the independence of the Polish judiciary.


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