The Government of Poland, under protest, dismantles the Judge Disciplinary Chamber, as demanded by the European Commission. The deadline for that ended yesterday. The letter sent by the government to Brussels states that the Disciplinary Chamber will be deleted in the coming months as part of a wider package of judicial reforms.
At the same time, reference is made to the ruling of the Polish Constitutional Court last month. That court believes that the disputed disciplinary chamber does not have to disappear because the European Commission has nothing to say about internal affairs. This would also apply to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which supported the Commission‘s position in April.
The long-running conflict between Brussels and Poland is about the independence of the judiciary. For the disciplinary chamber, judges who have been critical of government and reforms must appear primarily.
According to Brussels, judges who have to assess the functioning of fellow judges are on the hand of the government. Members have been selected by a council of judges, who, in turn, have been elected by the parliament. Prime Minister Morawiecki’s Conservative Government Party PiS and President Duda has the absolute majority.
Brussels had set Poland an ultimatum: if no improvements had been announced before 16 August, the European Commission would impose fines on Poland.
The leader of PiS, Deputy Prime Minister Kaczynski, promised earlier this month that the Disciplinary Chamber would be reformed. He also said Brussels has no jurisdiction over national affairs.
What the reforms are going to look like is not clear. The first proposals should be on the table in September.
What law weighs the hardest, Polish or European? CCEit on 3 previously made this explainer: