Ms. Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission
Ms. Vera Jourova
Vice-President of the European Commission
Dear Ms. von der Leyen
Dear Ms. Jourova
Dear Mr. Reynders
The National Board of the Polish Judges` Association IUSTITIA observes very carefully and with the utmost respect all actions taken by the European Commission and by each of you personally to defend the rule of law in Poland, and thus in the European Union. In order to maintain effective cooperation between the EU Member States, the Board informs that despite the rulings of the CJEU (judgment of 19 November 2019 in joined cases C-585/18, C-624/18 and C-625/18, judgment of 15 July 2021) in case C-791/19 and decisions of July 14, 2021 and of October 27, 2021 in case C-204/21) resulting with the obligation of Poland to solve the problem of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and the announcements of the Prime Minister of the Polish government about its liquidation, the Chamber continues to function.
So far, contrary to the decisions of the CJEU of July 14, 2021 and October 27, 2021 in case C-204/21, the resolutions of the Chamber suspending judges have not been considered invalid and they have not been reinstated. On the contrary, members of the Disciplinary Chamber pass subsequent resolutions to suspend more and more judges from their duties and reduce their remuneration due to their judgments that respect the rulings of the CJEU. It should be noted, that they all do so at closed sessions, the results of which the judges learn from the press. This was the case of judges Maciej Ferek and Piotr Gąciarek on November 16 and 24, 2021. Another judge (Agnieszka Niklas-Bibik) avoided the suspension due to the withdrawal of the files from the Chamber at the request of Małgorzata Manowska the First President of the Supreme Court. However, this is a single case and in these circumstances no judge applying directly the EU law can be sure of his own fate.
Not only is there no work being done in the Parliament on the draft act to liquidate the Disciplinary Chamber, but also the Minister of Justice presented a draft act on the system of common courts which repeats and even tightens up solutions repeating those that Poland was obliged to suspend by the CJEU in the above-mentioned provisions.
In addition, in March 2022, the term of office of 15 judges appointed to the National Council of the Judiciary expires in accordance with rules contrary to the Polish Constitution and EU treaties, but the executive and legislative authorities do not do anything to “repair” this body, and a new recruitment of judges to the National Council of the Judiciary has been announced in the same form as was challenged in the above-mentioned judgments of the CJEU (announcement of the Maszałek Sejmu (Speaker of the lower chamber of Parliament) of the Republic of Poland of December 3, 2021, Monitor Polski of December 4, 2021, item 1127). Restoring the rule of law in Poland, as mentioned by the President on der Leyen in her speech to the European Parliament, must begin with shaping the National Council of the Judiciary in accordance with the Constitution and European standards. It results directly from the recent judgments of the ECtHR (including in the judgment of 8 November 2021 Dolińska-Ficek and Ozimek v. Poland (49868/19 and 57511/19), which indicated that the court filled with the participation of persons appointed by such NCJ does not meet the requirements of the court referred to in Article 6 of the European Convention of the Human Rights and pointed to the need to regulate this issue in a systemic manner.
All the actions, above mentioned of the Polish political authorities constitute a clear disregard for the judgments of the CJEU and the provisions of the treaties and threaten to disintegrate the institutions that uphold the standards of law and values being the cornerstones the European Union and destroy the European Union itself.
In this state of affairs, the IUSTITIA`s National Board urges you to take immediate and appropriate actions that will lead to effective respect for the decisions of the CJEU.
On behalf of the Polish Judges` Association IUSTITIA
Prof. Krystian Markiewicz
President of the National Board