Venice Commission's opinion on Poland's court reforms next week - source

Leszek Szymański/PAP

The Venice Commission is expected to issue next week an urgent opinion on the amendment of Polish courts laws, PAP has been told by sources at the Council of Europe advising body.

This past Thursday, Senate (upper house) Speaker Tomasz Grodzki asked the Venice Commission for an opinion on recent reforms of the Polish justice system which introduce disciplinary measures for judges.

Passed on December 20, the new draft laws permit the disciplining of judges for obstructing the functioning of the justice system, questioning the legality of judicial appointments and involvement in public activity which infringes on judicial independence.

The bills, are to be reviewed by the Senate. On January 8, Grodzki is scheduled to discuss the matter with EC Vice-President Vera Jourova in Brussels.

A delegation of the Venice Commission is to pay a visit to Warsaw on January 9-10.

According to the Commission's website on rare occasions urgent opinions are adopted outside the four plenary sessions so that the authorities in question can make use of Venice Commission legal expertise in time. Such urgent opinions are usually formally endorsed at the next plenary session.

Founded in 1990 under the official name European Commission for Democracy through Law, the Venice Commission is a group of independent constitutional law experts advising the Council of Europe. Referred to as the Venice Commission due to its meeting place in Venice, Italy. The body convenes four times a year.