Supreme Bar Council urges ruling party to repeal "muzzle law"

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The Supreme Bar Council (NRA) called upon politicians in a resolution adopted on Friday to repeal "legislative regulations detrimental to Poland". According the NRA, the amended law on courts violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, under the guise of improving the functioning of courts.

On Friday, the Supreme Bar Council adopted a resolution in which they point pointed out that the introduced regulations violated separation of powers, as well as checks and balances principles. The NRA stressed it had welcomed "with deep disappointment" the news about president signing the new law. The Council also called upon politicians responsible for pushing this law through to "back down with regulations detrimental to Poland by repealing them immediately".

"The implemented solutions do not reform the justice system. Under the guise of improving the courts' functioning, and allegedly preventing chaos and anarchy in the judiciary, they violate the constitutional principles of separation of powers, as well as checks and balances. They infringe on the foundations of the rule of law state and deepen the systemic crisis of our country" - reads the resolution. According to the Council, provisions allowing to have judges disciplined for adjudicating stand "in clear contradiction with the legal system of the European Union".

"The ratified law completely ignores consequences, binding for Poland, of the Court of Justice of the EU ruling from November 19th, 2019. Adoption of this law places Polish interests in the EU at risk. It's clear that such legislation - standing against the EU law - must meet with an appropriate reaction from EU authorities" - the Council wrote.

The NRA also said the law deprives citizens of the right to "independent, impartial and free court (...) free from influence of other public authority bodies", infringing thereby on fundamental citizen rights and freedoms.

"By no means the adopted law improves the functioning of Polish courts, it only deepens the level of the legislative and executive powers' interference in the sphere restricted exclusively to the justice system" - reads the statement.

The CJEU awaits explanations from Poland regarding Supreme Court's Disciplinary Chamber
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Muzzle law adopted

The law in question was signed by President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday (February 4th). It would allow judges who criticise the government's reforms to be disciplined.

The ruling PiS party says the bill, which was rejected by the opposition-controlled Senate, is necessary to avoid chaos in the legal system, as some judges have started questioning the legality of the appointment of others.

Furthermore, the amendment introduces changes in the procedure of appointing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Each Supreme Court Justice will now have the right to put forward their own candidates for this position. In case of lack of quorum, in the last stage of the procedure, presence of 32 Justice would be enough to appoint the Chief Justice.

The new law has been criticised by the opposition and some members of the judiciary. Civic Platform, Polish People's Party and the Left had been calling upon the president to veto the reforms.

Also among the critics of the new law was the European Commission, the Venice Commission, many judges from across Europe, as well as members of the U.S. Congress.

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