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Oświadczenie Komitetu Helsińskiego w Polsce ws. nowej ustawy o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym EN

“We are concerned at the changes made to the new Constitutional Tribunal Act that lower eligibility requirements for prospective candidates for the Tribunal’s judges”, reads a statement issued by the Helsinki Committee in Poland.

In the statement, the members of the Committee underscore that the Constitutional Tribunal is a foundation of the system which protects the principles of a democratic state ruled by law. Any modifications to the Tribunal’s position or composition must be in full compliance with the requirements resulting from that principle.

The new regulation upholds the existing requirements regarding, among other things, age and job seniority, but changes the criteria of professional qualifications that candidates must satisfy. Under the proposed law, a candidate for a judge of the Constitutional Tribunal would no longer be required to hold a higher degree or qualify as a licensed legal practitioner (a prosecutor, advocate or legal counsellor). Instead, they would only need to have a master’s level degree in law and show ten years of professional working experience in public institutions at posts that involve lawmaking or applying law.

“If that change is introduced, the requirements for prospective judges of the Constitutional Tribunal will be significantly lower than those applicable to candidates for judicial offices in the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court”, warns the Helsinki Committee in Poland.

The initial version of the amendment entitled representatives of the broad legal community to propose candidates for the Constitutional Tribunal.

“We would like to remind everybody that the Constitutional Tribunal’s role is to review the compatibility of legal enactments with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, and also with its Chapter Two, which describes the guarantees of rights and freedoms of the individual. Given the above, only best-qualified lawyers should hold the office of a Constitutional Tribunal’s judge”, reads the today’s statement.

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