Judicial disciplinary panel suspends Warsaw judge

A judicial disciplinary chamber at the centre of a dispute between the EU and the Polish government suspended a Warsaw judge on Wednesday.

The Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court also reduced the salary of Judge Krzysztof Chmielewski by 25 percent.

The chamber issued its decision despite a July ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union ordering the government to shut down the chamber because, according to the court, it lacked independence and could be used by the government to silence defiant judges. Poland, so far, has failed to comply.

"As long as law-makers or the Constitutional Tribunal do not repeal provisions concerning the Disciplinary Chamber, these provisions will continue to remain in effect," the chamber said.

Judge Jarosław Duś, from the chamber, said that Judge Chmielewski, through his actions, "exemplifies disregard for the provisions of the Constitution, the laws which are in effect and the obligations of a judge with respect to those laws, and exhibits a disdainful attitude towards other judges - including those who are members of the National Council of the Judiciary – and the President of Poland."

"The behaviour of Judge Chmielewski adversely affects the functioning of the justice system," he added.

Dus also pointed out that the conduct of the judge may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

According to media reports, Judge Chmielewski, at the request of a party during a court trial in mid-December last year, excluded another judge from adjudicating in the trial, pointing out that she had been nominated to the District Court by the current National Council of the Judiciary and, as such, was a district court judge and had no authority to rule in a higher court.

As a result, Chmielewski was removed from adjudication by the president of the Warsaw district court.

The disciplinary court was also notified and, in early January this year, disciplinary proceedings were initiated against Judge Chmielewski.