Competence dispute between lower house and Supreme Court

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TVN24 News in English, PAP
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TVN24 News in EnglishPolish judicial disciplinary body disregards Chief Justice's calls

Due to the Constitutional Tribunal's (TK) launching an inquiry at the request of the Speaker of the Sejm, Thursday's session of three chambers of the Supreme Court has been suspended - the head of Polish constitutional court judge Julia Przyłębska announced on Wednesday. The Supreme Court (SN) spokesman Michał Laskowski said the SN wasn't in collision with any official body, especially the Sejm, and it would hold its session scheduled on Thursday.

The head of the TK announced in Wednesday's statement that the court has received a request from the lower house speaker to settle two disputes over powers between: the Sejm and the SN, and between the president and the SN.

Judge Przyłębska argued that, according to the law, once the TK starts a case, it automatically suspends proceedings of the bodies involved in the competency dispute.

Therefore, the head of constitutional court concluded the Supreme Court should suspend its session scheduled for Thursday, devoted to legal questions submitted by the Chief Justice.

The Constitutional Tribunal also informed it would examine the case by the full adjudicating panel, and the date would be announced at the court's website.

The Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek informed on Wednesday that she had referred to the TK a motion to settle a competence dispute between the Sejm and the Supreme Court, taking into account president's competence to appoint judges. She said that she had sent the motion to the TK "out of the sense of responsibility for the state". "It's a very serious issue and I decided that it's my duty as the Sejm Speaker to ask the TK whether or not the lower house has the right to pass laws on the organisation of courts" - she added.

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"If the TK decides to examine this case, this would suspend Thursday's session (of three chambers) of the SN and its verdict" - Witek said.

The session in question, scheduled on Thursday, has been initiated by a legal question asked last week by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Judge Małgorzata Gersdorf submitted the legal question in three SN Chambers: Civil, Criminal and Labour. Chief Justice wants to check if presence of judges, appointed by Polish president at the request of the National Council of the Judiciary in its current composition, in the adjudicating panel of a common court or the Supreme Court would violate the Polish Constitution, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Treaty on the European Union, in which case such person would be unauthorised to pass verdicts, or the court's composition would be against the regulations.

The Supreme Court spokesman judge Michał Laskowski commented on judge Przyłębska's statement by saying that there was no competence dispute between the SN or any other body, including the Sejm. "We have a session on Thursday, we shall discuss this," he added.

Judge Laskowski underscored that "the law must be based on certain facts and these facts must reflect the regulations". "I don't see who is supposed to be in dispute here, this is fiction, there's no dispute because the SN settles discrepancies in its own rulings, and alternatively in the rulings of common courts, and it doesn't collide with any other state institution, especially the Sejm" - he said.

The session - which is to be attended by over 60 Supreme Court Justices - has been scheduled to start at 10am.

Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

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