European Commission refers Poland to Court of Justice over judicial independence
© WikiMedia (Cédric Puisney)
European Commission refers Poland to Court of Justice over judicial independence

The European Commission referred Poland to the European Court of Justice Thursday for violating judicial independence.

In an April 3 letter, the Commission outlined in detail Poland’s failure to provide an effective right to remedy before an independent and impartial court under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. Poland has also allegedly failed to ensure judicial independence under Article 19(1) of the Treaty on EU.

The Commission’s decision comes amid criticism and in response to Polish President Andrzej Duda lowering the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65, which meant that 27 of the country’s 72 judges would be forced to retire. Although the judges would be able to request an extension from the president that would give them three more years on the bench, there is no clear rule or standard establishing how the president would make his decision. This new law also means that the tenure of the head of the Supreme Court would end.

Duda claims that the Commission’s move is politically motivated.