Liquidation of disciplinary chamber is part of judiciary reform

A disciplinary panel for judges that lies at the centre of a dispute between Brussels and Warsaw will be closed down, but not to please the European Court of Justice but as part of a comprehensive reform of the judiciary, a senior official at Poland’s ruling party has said.

Radoslaw Fogiel, deputy spokesman for Law and Justice, told the private television broadcaster TVN on Tuesday that "we have not only been talking about a draft on liquidating the chamber but about a comprehensive reform of the entire judicial system."

Fogiel added that the disciplinary panel for judges at the Supreme Court was just "a tiny element" of the government's overhaul of the system.

But according to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) the panel lacks independence from political interference and could be used by the government to silence defiant judges and issued a ruling demanding it is shut down.

Poland has, so far, failed to comply with the ruling and, on October 27, the court imposed a EUR 1 million daily fine on Poland for this failure.

According to Fogiel, the dispute concerns something else, namely, whether the judicial system of an EU member is "a part of their responsibility."

"Having attacked the disciplinary panel, the CJEU is trying to acquire competences it does not have," he said.

Asked if the chamber should be liquidated as quickly as possible because of the fine imposed on Poland, Fogiel said that no one should panic since, in accordance with the treaties, the competences regarding the judiciary "have not been transferred to the European Union."