The EU on Monday referred [press release] Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU due to a new law that would force 27 Supreme Court judges to retire.
Poland’s new law lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65, which would require that 27 out of 72 sitting Supreme Court judges retire. This measure also applies to the First President of the Supreme Court, whose six-year mandate, set out in the Polish Constitution, would be prematurely terminated.
The European Commission maintains that the Polish law on the Supreme Court is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and thereby Poland fails to fulfill its obligations under Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union [text] read in connection with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union [website, text].
The EU is concerned with the independence of national courts and tribunals and said that the implementation of the contested retirement regime for Supreme Court judges creates “a risk of serious and irreparable damage to judicial independence in Poland.”
Along with the referral to the Court of Justice, the Commission has decided to ask the Court to order interim measures to restore Poland’s Supreme Court to its original format and has requested an expedited procedure.