View Full Version : Poland Shakes Up Judiciary

July 23rd, 2017, 07:17 PM
Poland's Senate backed a bill that gives MPs and the justice minister the power to appoint judges.

The ruling Law and Justice Party says this will fight corruption. Critics say it will destroy judicial independence.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in recent weeks to oppose the bill, which will see all Supreme Court judges removed and replaced.

Poland's President, Andrzej Duda, will decide whether or not judges - who will be forced into retirement - can have their jobs back.

The Polish government says the changes will make the judiciary more effective and ensure that judges are accountable.

However, European Council President and former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has condemned the move as "backward". "Bringing the courts under the control of the governing party in the manner proposed by the Law and Justice Party will ruin the already tarnished public opinion about Polish democracy", he said in a statement.

The European Commission's Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, has threatened to withdraw Poland's voting rights in EU meetings if Warsaw does not suspend the reform.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban has vowed to defend Poland from criticism from the EU after it approved controversial court reforms. Hungary will use "all possible legal means in the European Union to show solidarity with the Poles", he said.
From the BBC (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40692318)

Well this I think is a real problem for the EU if the Polish President chooses to sign the bill, not to mention Poles that would like a less drastic approach. It is worth mentioning here that even parties that are pro-judicial reform all opposed the Law and Justice Party's bill because it was extreme. But for the EU it poses a real problem because you now have a troublesome two-state bloc that is preventing the EU from executing its functions. If the EU cannot perform extreme actions, then it loses a lot of the power to enforce democratic standards. And with that, the only insulation an EU country has is its own faith in the separation of powers in government.

Or maybe the President will veto the bill and all of the hypothetical situations will vanish.

July 24th, 2017, 03:50 AM
The independence of the judiciary is an important part of the democratic process. By making the judiciary reliant on the choices of the ruling party, it increases the chances of judicial bias and corruption tenfold. The issues that arise with the EU are just another major issue. I personally think it's a terrible idea but the government of Poland isn't waiting around for our approval.

July 24th, 2017, 07:05 AM
Recent news said that President of Poland vetoed that bill.

July 24th, 2017, 08:00 AM
Yes, that did happen (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40703909). I'm interested to see if they make a more watered down, less extreme bill now.