EC procedure against Poland's disciplinary law for judges in 2nd stage

The European Commission (EC), the EU's executive arm, has launched the second stage of its procedure against Poland over the country's legislation aimed at disciplining judges.

The news was sent to PAP in a press release by EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders on Friday.

The EC decided to continue its proceedings against Poland with reference to the country's new disciplinary laws, passed last December, that pave the way for strict disciplinary proceedings against judges, Reynders said, adding that he had on several occasions expressed concerns over the impact of the legislation on Poland's system of justice.

The legislation continues to undermine the independence of Polish judges, Reynders said.

The EC launched the procedure in April and gave Poland two months to respond. Warsaw did accordingly, but Brussels said the response did not address its concerns.

The disciplinary legislation, which entered into force in February, is aimed at dealing with judges who behave unethically or break the law, and notably against those who question the legitimacy of the government-reformed judicial self-governance body, the KRS (National Council of the Judiciary). Critics say the law may be used to discipline judges who oppose the ruling party's reforms.

In its Friday news release, the EC also said the regulations make it impossible for Polish courts to directly apply some EU laws that protect the independence of the justice system.