CJEU: Poland's rules for assigning judges violates EU law
The EU's top court ruled on Tuesday that Polish rules allowing the justice minister to assign judges to higher criminal courts or to remove them without stating reasons violated EU law. Poland's prosecutor general has asked the country's Constitutional Tribunal to rule whether regulations cited by the Court of Justice of the European Union for fines imposed on Poland are constitutional, the prosecutor's office told state news agency PAP on Monday.
The case arose after a Polish court asked whether the Polish government's ability effectively to second one of three judges to a panel ruling on criminal cases or to terminate a secondment infringed the requirement for judicial independence.
The Polish court said the secondments and terminations were not based on predefined legal criteria and the latter did not have to be accompanied by a statement of reasons.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said that rules related to secondments must provide necessary guarantees to prevent a risk of them being used as means of exerting political control over judicial decisions.
Poland's nationalist government is involved in a series of disputes with the EU regarding issues such as the rule of law and judicial reforms that critics say undermine the independence of the judiciary, including the Constitutional Tribunal itself.
In October, the CJEU ruled Poland must pay 1 million euros a day in fines for maintaining a disputed disciplinary chamber for judges.
Earlier it fined Poland 500,000 euros a day for defying a court ruling to halt operations at the Turow coal mine on the Czech Republic border that Czechs claim is damaging their communities. Poland has vowed to continue operations and has said it will not pay the penalties related to the mine.
Poland questions both rulings and on Monday the prosecutor's office said the Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro would ask the Constitutional Tribunal to rule on the constitutionality of those orders.
"In the opinion of the Prosecutor General, the subsequent judgments of the CJEU unlawfully extend the competences of the EU under the Treaties, violating the provisions of the Polish constitution and ignoring the rulings of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal," the prosecutor's office was quoted as saying by PAP.
The prosecutor general had earlier asked the Tribunal to rule on whether the article of the European Convention of Human Rights on the right to a fair hearing was constitutional as far as it allows the European Court of Human Rights to verify the legality of the appointment of the Tribunal's judges.
A first hearing in the case has been set for November 24.
The Tribunal ruled earlier this year that some elements of EU law were incompatible with the country's charter, challenging a central tenet of EU integration.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters
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