PM to discuss new judiciary bill with justice minister this week

Andrzej Lange/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has said that he expects to hold consultations on the amended Supreme Court bill with the justice minister later this week.

Zbigniew Ziobro, the justice minister and leader of Solidary Poland, a euro-sceptic junior member of the United Right governing coalition, has said that his party will not accept an amended bill despite it offering the possibility of unlocking Poland’s access to billions of euros in EU funding.

He said that the draft legislation "violates the constitution in many points" and "deeply interferes with Polish sovereignty."

"The Ministry of Justice, and at the same time Solidary Poland, cannot and will not accept a draft written in consultation with Brussels, which makes fundamental changes in the area of the Polish judiciary," Ziobro said.

During the press conference after a government meeting on Tuesday, Morawiecki was asked about the opposition from Solidary Poland to the government's proposal to amend the Supreme Court law.

He replied that today the administration of justice is blocking Polish access to EU funds.

"I want to remove this blockade from our path," Morawiecki declared.

He said that the proposal of the Supreme Court bill was developed by the team led by the Minister of European Affairs, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, based on a compromise worked out with the European Union.

"Minister Szynkowski vel Sek has drawn very clear red lines and has not crossed them," the prime minister argued.

"We will, of course, talk to everyone. I am inviting the Minister of Justice together with his team this week to meet me, Minister Szynkowski vel Sek and his team," he said.

The new legislation was drafted by the governing party Law and Justice (PiS) to meet the EU's expectations regarding changes to the judicial system.

It proposes that all disciplinary issues concerning judges be settled by the top administrative court instead of the Supreme Court's Chamber of Professional Responsibility, a body created to replace a disciplinary chamber considered by the EC to be politicised.

The draft also extends the scope of the so-called test of judicial independence and impartiality, which could be initiated not only by the party to the proceedings, but also ex officio by the court itself. It further supplements the test with the prerequisite for the appointment of a judge "pursuant to the act." 

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