EU's top court: cutting retirement age for Poland's Supreme Court unlawful

TVN24


Provisions of the Polish law that would lower the retirement age of Poland's Supreme Court judges were against the EU law - the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on Monday. EU's top court explained that the regulations violated the principle of judges' independence.

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Europe's top court ruled on that Poland breached EU laws by lowering the retirement age of its Supreme Court judges and also by granting power to its president to extend the active mandate of these judges when they reach the lowered retirement age.

Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party pushed through the change last year under judicial reforms the European Commission has said threatened the rule of law by increasing government control over the courts.

"The Polish legislation concerning the lowering of the retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court is contrary to EU law," the European Court of Justice said in its ruling.

"The measures at issue breach the principles of the irremovability of judges and judicial independence."

The PiS has originally argued that the changes were needed to improve the efficiency of the courts and rid the country of residues of the Communist era in the judiciary.

As an interim measure, the ECJ last December ordered Poland to suspend the law lowering the age of retirement, and in response the PiS amended the law to remove the obligation to retire judges already in office last year.

Polish government acted in line with the EU Commission's recommendations and changed the legislation accordingly. The EU executive argued, however, that it wasn't certain whether the newly amended regulations also weren't breaching the EU law. Therefore, the Commission did not withdraw its complaint from the ECJ.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters