The European Court of Justice on Friday ordered Poland to immediately suspend its lowering of the mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court judges.
While a former hearing with the Court of Justice is already scheduled, the court demands that the suspension go into effect that the judges continue on in their positions during the interim.
In April Poland lowered the mandatory retirement age to 65. The law forced justices who reached 65 by July 3, 2018, to retire on July 4 unless granted permission by Poland’s president. The EU referred Poland to the Court of Justice in September.
The court may only grant interim relief if “(i) it is established that such an order is justified, prima facie, in fact and in law … and (ii) the order is urgent in so far as, to avoid serious and irreparable damage to the interests of the EU.” The court may also engage in a balancing test of the interests of both parties.
Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda increased the number of Supreme Court judges from 93 to 120, created 44 vacancies in the court, and appointed 27 new judges. According to the Court of Justice, this “entails a profound and immediate change in the composition of the Supreme Court, which is, moreover, likely to be extended by new appointments,” meeting the urgency requirement.