We are an independent, apolitical and self-governing association of Polish judges.
Our main mission is to defend freedom and civil rights, which are the democratic foundations of Poland - a member of the the European Union.
We have been operating for more than 25 years, also as part of different international organisations of judges. We associate over 3,500 judges, most of them in Poland.

Reform in Polish, or you have to check the judge.

In Spain, people refer to failed bills concerning judiciary as "reforma en polaco." ["reform in Polish"]. In Poland, it sometimes happens that when a judge introduces themself that they are from the Supreme Court, the listeners leave the room because they are convinced that they are dealing with a "neo-judge". Poland is also in trouble for extraditing to this country dangerous criminals from EU member states. What's more, a country that systemically violates EU values may be treated differently from other countries.

In recent days, public opinion has been outraged by the murder of a woman by the alleged perpetrator, a Norwegian citizen who was detained by Danish police while fleeing Poland with a young child. The Danes are investigating whether they can extradite the suspect to Poland on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant [EAW].

European courts have the right not to trust.

A criminal court in Copenhagen has asked the Regional Court in Cracow, which issued a European Arrest Warrant for a Norwegian suspected of murder and abduction of his daughter. The Danish court asks , whether the application was signed by a "legal judge" or perhaps a "neo-judge" appointed with the participation of the National Judicial Council.

- The European Arrest Warrant, operates on the principle of mutual trust," explains Professor Maciej Taborowski of the Institute of Legal Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, an attorney and partner in the Hoffman, Taborowski & Wspólnicy law firm. - As a result of interpretation in light of the value of the rule of law from Article 2 of the TEU, the Court of Justice of the European Union [CJEU] now allows national courts to move away from trust in the Polish system. They can now verify on a case-by-case basis whether a person to be extradited under an EAW to Poland is at risk of not receiving a fair trial. If such a risk is found, the CJEU allows national courts not to extradite such a person. Why? To protect the individual from risk and violation of the right to a fair trial, he adds.

The need to check the Polish office.

Most recently, in February of this year - the CJEU's ruling in the Sped Pro case concerning PKP Cargo was significant. The CJEU overturned the European Commission's decision rejecting Sped Pro S.A.'s complaint against PKP Cargo, which is controlled by the Polish state. The company had accused PKP Cargo of abusing its dominant position in the rail freight services market in Poland.

 According to the complainant, the Commission should take up the case, because in Poland, due to systemic deficiencies with the rule of law, there is no chance of obtaining effective legal protection. - The Commission wanted to send the case back to the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection [UOKiK] to deal with the matter. And the CJEU ruled that for the sake of EU values, in this particular situation it must be verified that the company will receive effective legal protection in Poland. This means, among other things, the need for the Commission to verify whether the UOKiK is independent, whether the system of appeals against UOKiK decisions meets the requirements of European law. Under normal circumstances, this would not be investigated, because there would be trust that the Polish authorities are acting properly," says Prof. Taborowski.

Civil and cross-border cases.

For now, we are at the beginning of determining the response of the supranational legal order of the Union to violations of fundamental values of the EU, such as the rule of law. The CJEU takes these values very seriously. This year, the CJEU stated for the first time in case-law that EU values constitute the identity of the EU legal order. Moreover, it also stated that violating the independence of judges violates the principle of equality of member states before the treaties (Art. 4(2) TEU). According to Prof. Taborowski, this means that a state systemically violating EU values can be treated differently with respect to the treaties than other states. These are fundamental threats to Polish citizens. Thus, if the situation in Poland does not change, serious problems may arise in the future in EU cross-border trade with Poland.

- EU law is based on the principles of trust and loyalty, and these principles apply both in competition law and in the EU internal market and in the cooperation of bodies like the Social Security Administration," says Prof. Taborowski. - Problems can arise in cross-border civil, family, but also economic cases, for example, in cases of payment from a European counterparty, he adds. One can imagine a development in the following direction: a Polish entrepreneur obtains a ruling from a Polish court against a counterparty from another member state. This one will be able to defend against the declaration of enforceability of such a judgment at home, for example, through the premise of public policy, if the judgment ordering payment is issued by a Polish court that does not meet European requirements. In practice, entrepreneurs who have the possibility will protect themselves and avoid Polish courts.