Sejm chancellery to publish lists of support for judiciary council candidates

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TVN24 News in English, PAP
Polish judge disciplined for requesting support lists for judiciary councilTVN24 News in English
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TVN24 News in EnglishPolish judge disciplined for requesting support lists for judiciary council

Once a written substantiation of administrative court's ruling has been issued, the Chancellery of the Sejm will begin the procedure of publishing lists of support for candidates to the KRS (National Council of the Judiciary) - the Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek informed on Wednesday.

"So far we were obliged by the chief Personal Data Protection Office; (...) but it was revoked with a court decision. Now we're waiting for substantiation (by the court). Once we've received the substantiation, we will begin the procedure of revealing this data" - the Sejm Speaker said after being asked when the chancellery of the lower house would publish the lists of support for candidates to the KRS.

"All judges will be informed once this procedure has been launched" - she added.

Elżbieta Witek also reminded that statistical data on how many judges supported each candidate had been already published.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court (WSA) in Warsaw in January revoked the decisions of the Personal Data Protection Office chief that had blocked publishing of the lists of support for candidates to the National Council of the Judiciary.

The question of the KRS candidates support lists has raised controversy between judges and politicians. Opposition MP Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz, critical of the new KRS, has been among those demanding publication of the lists. After the Sejm Chancellery had refused to do so, the MP notified the WSA. The case ended up in the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) which in June 2019 said the Sejm should reveal the names of those who had supported candidates to KRS.

Nevertheless, the lists had not been published due to the Personal Data Protection Office chief decision from July 30, that prohibited the Sejm to reveal the data until further notice.

The procedure of appointing of 15 KRS judges for a 4-year term was conducted in March 2018, in line with the amended law on the KRS that has become effective in January 2018. Before the amendment, KRS judges were being appointed by other judges. Currently, candidates for the KRS can be proposed by groups of 25 judges and at least 2.000 citizens.

The said amendment, pushed through by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, allows the Sejm to appoint the KRS members, who later appoint regular judges. As PiS holds majority of seats in the house, the changes have raised concerns as to the independence of judges appointed by the new KRS.

The Law and Justice party (PiS) changed the law in 2018 to allow the lower house of parliament - which it controls - to choose the members of the council that appoints judges. Critics of the reform have been dismissing it as unconstitutional and in violation of the EU law.

The Supreme Court resolution passed in January said judges appointed by the new KRS were not sufficiently independent and should not be allowed to pass verdicts.

The Ministry of Justice, headed by Zbigniew Ziobro, said the top court's resolution had no legal effect.

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Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

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