HFHR reviews “repressive law” against judges
Restrictions on the self-governance capacity of the judicial profession and judges’ freedom to adjudicate, creation of measures to project the chilling effect on judges and provision of the current parliamentary majority with means to influence the election of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – these are the key changes that the recently proposed “repressive law” seeks to implement. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued a legal opinion to review the bill.
In the document, the Foundation points to negative effects of the proposed changes and, in particular, criticises the measures concerning the new rules of judges’ disciplinary responsibility. In the HFHR’s view, these rules would create mechanisms to interfere with the substance of judicial decisions, posing a systemic threat to the independence of Polish judges.
A chilling effect on judges and an attack against EU law
The Foundation notes that the bill introduces “blunt force” solutions designed to prevent Polish judges from resorting to a systemic interpretation of laws, directly applying the Constitution, and referring to international law. Equally worryingly, the proposed law undermines foundations of the operation of the European Union legal system, including the right and obligation of each national court to ensure domestic effectiveness of EU law.
“Through the measures proposed in the bill, the ruling majority seeks to forcibly prevent judges from applying the recent judgment of the Court of Justice”, HFHR lawyer Marcin Wolny points out.
To this end, the bill prohibits judges from questioning the legal standing of other members of the judicial profession.
“In this way, the proposed law deprives an individual of the right to effective judicial protection of their ability to exercise of the constitutional right to an independent court established by law”, Mr Wolny adds.
NGOs excluded from Committee’s works
In the opinion, the HFHR also criticised the way in which the bill has been legislated, indicating that the parliamentary majority has circumvented the requirement to consult the proposal, and has openly indicated an instrumental purpose of the proposed law. The HFHR is particularly opposed to depriving representatives of NGOs, including the Foundation’s own legal expert, of the opportunity to participate in a parliamentary committee’s works on the bill.