The EU Court of Justice ruled on Monday that the Polish “Law on the Supreme Court,” lowering the retirement age of judges of the Supreme Court, is contrary to EU law and principle.
The Polish law on the Supreme Court lowered the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65. According to the law, judges affected by the lowered retirement age were given the possibility to request a prolongation of their mandate, which could be granted by the President of the Republic for a period of three years, and renewed once.
The European Commission requested the Court of Justice to declare that by adopting the new law, Poland violated its obligations under EU law. Under Article 19(1) of the EU Treaty, “member States shall provide remedies sufficient to ensure effective legal protection in the fields covered by Union law.” Under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, “everyone whose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the law of the Union are violated has the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal.”
The Court of Justice held that the new law is “not justified by a legitimate objective and undermines the principle of the irremovability of judges, that principle being essential to their independence.” The Court also held the extension of retirement age subject to a decision of the president is discretionary.