EU's top court tells Poland to suspend judicial disciplinary body
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on Wednesday obliged Poland to immediately suspend the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court that was set up by the ruling coalition to take disciplinary measures against judges.
The CJEU has provisionally suspended the Disciplinary Chamber's activity concerning disciplinary proceedings against judges "until delivery of the final judgment," which will be issued at a later date.
This means that the CJEU has approved the European Commission's (EC) application for interim measures. The EU's executive arm brought the case against Poland before the EU court on January 24, requesting the introduction of interim measures as it argued that the chamber stood under political influence.
"We'll be considering different variants of how to respond to the Court of Justice of the European Union's ruling with regard to the scope it was issued in," PAP was told by Polish Deputy Justice Minister Anna Dalkowska on Wednesday.
Dalkowska said that in its ruling, the CJEU only referred to the chamber's operation concerning disciplinary proceedings against judges. "The CJEU did not rule to suspend the chamber's competence towards other legal professions or employee issues. Neither did it question the status of the Disciplinary Chamber judges, which means that the eligibility of these judges to take part in the procedure of selecting the First President of the Supreme Court was not questioned, either," she said.
The current Supreme Court first president's term expires on April 30.
Responding to the CJEU ruling, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki said the Polish side will reply to the court according to binding procedures.
"We will carry out the necessary analyses and provide our response within the procedurally defined deadline," Morawiecki said. He added that the Polish government will also direct a query to the Polish constitutional court regarding the degree to which the CJEU is empowered to pass such rulings. Commenting on the ruling itself, he said that judicial reforms lay in the sole competency of the individual EU members.
"We will quite certainly direct a query in this matter to the Constitutional Tribunal, which is the highest institution of appeal," Morawiecki said.