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Poland could be referred to ECJ over controversial judicial reforms

The sweeping legislation, which is due to come into force on 3 July, would lead to the enforced retirement of judges over 65, and allow the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) to enact a series of reshuffles within the country's highest courts, allegedly to strengthen its grip on power.

Critics say that the reforms are merely an attempt by PiS to cement its grip on power in the country.

Judicial reform in Poland was debated in plenary with European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans this week.

MEPs have joined Polish NGOs in petitioning the Commission to ask the European Court of Justice for an interim order to halt the changes to the Polish Supreme Court which would force up to 40 per cent of judges into early retirement.

Nobel peace prize winner Lech Wałęsa, professional organisations and artists, plus a group of international law scholars and the Society of Journalists have also sent letters to Commission

President Jean-Claude Juncker calling for the executive to intervene before the new law enters into force next month.

It is said that the law may even depose the court's first president, despite the fact her constitutionally mandated six-year term is not set to end until 2020.

Addressing the plenary in Strasbourg, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans called the situation "very worrying."

He said the Commission had asked the Council to organise a formal hearing of Poland in the context of the `Article 7' procedure, which could lead to the suspension of Warsaw's EU voting rights.

"It is the Commission's sincere hope that Poland will now urgently address the key concerns identified by us. In particular, it is indispensable that urgent action be taken by the Polish government to address the situation of the Supreme Court judges before the 3 July - because that is when the decisions about the retirements become final.

EU lawmakers support Article 7 action against Poland | DW |



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Jun 16th, 2018 at 09:26:03 PM EST
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