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MEDEL statement on the ECJ decision about Poland

MEDEL

MEDEL welcomes the decision of the European Court of Justice of 8 April 2020 obliging Poland to suspend the activity of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court with regard to disciplinary cases concerning judges.

The court pointed out that the fact that the independence of the Sąd Najwyższy may not be guaranteed is likely to cause serious damage to the EU legal order, to the citizens’ rights and to the values set out in Article 2 TEU, on which the EU is founded, in particular the rule of law. Consequently, the application of the national provisions at issue, in as much as they confer jurisdiction for ruling in disciplinary cases concerning judges of the Sąd Najwyższy and of the ordinary courts to a body, namely the Izba Dyscyplinarna, whose independence might not be guaranteed, is likely to cause serious and irreparable harm to the EU legal order.

The court referred very strongly to its judgment of 19 November 2019 (joined cases C-585/18, C-624/18 and C-625/18), emphasising that the objective circumstances in which the court concerned was formed, its characteristics and the means by which its members have been appointed, are capable of giving rise to legitimate doubts as to the imperviousness of that court to external factors, in particular, as to the direct or indirect influence of the legislature and the executive.

This decision is another guidance for all European courts when deciding whether a particular tribunal fulfils the criteria of independence listed in the ECJ’s judgment of 19 November 2019.

MEDEL will keep following closely the situation of the Rule of Law in Europe, in particular in Poland, and will keep denouncing any attempt of undermining it. MEDEL again appeals to the European Institutions to take a strong position in the defence of the Rule of Law in all the Union.

April 15th, 2020

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