The Summary of Resolutions of General Assemblies of Common Courts (Regarding Dismissal of Court Presidents and their Deputies)

The Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, exercising his extraordinary powers given to him by virtue of Art. 17 (1) of the Act of 12 July 2017 on amending the Act on the Organisation of Ordinary Courts, dismissed 131 court presidents and vice presidents before the end of their term of office set in the statute.

In many cases these decisions were strongly criticised by the bodies of judicial self-government because they lacked substantive justification or because the justification provided contained incorrect information :

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  •  With regard to staff changes in the Katowice and Gliwice regions, the ministerial communication stated that the review of case registers and the basic indicators for the first 6 months of 2017 revealed low efficiency of regional courts. The lower tier district courts were also allegedly achieving poor results (https://ms.gov.pl/pl/informacje/news,10003,ocena-efektywnosci-pracy-sadow.html). As statistical data of 2016, published on the website of the Ministry of Justice, show, the courts of the Gliwice region  and the Katowice region resolved more cases than they received (the courts of the Gliwice region handled the incoming cases at the rate of 100.77% ranking 13th among 45 court regions in Poland, whereas the courts of the Katowice region handled the incoming cases at the rate of 100.09 % ranking 22nd among 45 court regions). In the 1st half of 2017, the Regional Court in Gliwice received in total 17,234 cases, 17,253 were resolved in this period, whereas the Regional Court in Katowice, in the first half of 2017 received in total 23,023 cases, 22,920 cases were resolved in that period. It should be added that more than 10% of judge positions in the Regional Court in Katowice remain vacant, for which the Ministry of Justice is responsible.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/1936-czystka-wsrod-prezesow-na-slasku)

One of the court presidents dismissed in these court regions was the president of the District Court in Żory, the court that ranked 2nd with respect to the number of cases resolved compared to the number of cases received by this court, according to 2017 statistics.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/1963-odwolani-prezesi-jednego-z-najlepszych-sadow-w-polsce-domagaja-sie-prawdy-od-ministra-sprawiedliwosci)

Staff changes have also received negative assessment of the Meeting of the Judges of the District Court for Katowice-Zachód in Katowice. The resolution adopted by the Meeting contains an objection that the ministerial press release completely ignores the circumstances that had impact on the worse statistical results of the Court, namely, the staff shortages.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/uchwaly/2053-uchwaly-zebrania-sedziow-sadu-rejonowego-katowice-zachod-w-katowicach )

 

  • In response to the dismissal of presidents and vice presidents of the Regional Court in Kraków, the District Court for Kraków – Podgórze, the District Court for Kraków – Nowa Huta and the District Court in Myślenice, the joint meeting of the judges of the Regional Court in Kraków, the District Court for Kraków – Śródmieście and the District Court in Myślenice expressed their opposition against the decisions of the Minister of Justice which do not contain any justification and are not based on merit. The participants also protested against linking the decision to dismiss the court presidents with the arrest of court directors (in connection with pending criminal proceedings), in a situation when the president of the court had no authority to exercise administrative supervision over the court director (such supervision is exercised by the Ministry of Justice)

(Source: http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/1972-uchwaly-krakowskie)

 

  • Presidents of the Regional Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski and the District Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski were also dismissed before the end of their terms. The reason given for their dismissal was the poor efficiency of the District Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski, which, according to the Minister of Justice, allegedly ranked 296th out of 318 district courts with respect to the average duration of proceedings and the lack of supervision on the part of the president of the Regional Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski over the Regional Court. In fact, the District Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski with respect to the efficiency of proceedings is not in the third but in the first hundred of all district courts.

(Source: http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/1968-czystki-kadrowe-w-malopolsce-i-lubuskiem)

The decision of the Minister of Justice has met with the opposition of the General Assembly of Judges of the Regional Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski, which, in a resolution, raised an objection that the information published on the Ministry’s website a few hours after the dismissal, mentioning poor supervision and poor functioning of the District Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski was untrue.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/uchwaly/2037-uchwala-zgromadzenia-ogolnego-sedziow-okregu-sadu-okregowego-w-gorzowie-wlkp-z-dnia-15-stycznia-2018-r)

 

  • In response to the dismissal of the president of the Regional Court in Białystok and the president and vice president of the District Court in Białystok during their term of office, the General Assembly of Judges of the Regional Court in Białystok adopted a resolution in which they expressed their positive assessment of the work of the dismissed judges and expressed their disapproval of their dismissal without providing reasons for such decision. In the resolution it is emphasised that the brief note about the reasons for dismissal published on the website of the Ministry of Justice cannot be treated as justification for the decision. The contents of the note, without relating it to the real conditions in which judges of the Regional Court and the District Court in Białystok adjudicate must be considered unfair and harmful for the personal reputation of the dismissed court presidents and vice presidents.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/2031-uchwala-zgromadzenia-ogolnego-sedziow-okregu-sadu-okregowego-w-bialymstoku)

  • In response to the dismissal of the president of the District Court in Toruń before the end of the term, the General Assembly of the Judges of the District Court in Toruń adopted a resolution expressing their opposition and disapproval of this decision. They emphasize in the resolution that the District Court in Toruń is undergoing far-reaching organisational changes. The dismissed president of the court has undertaken a number of steps to improve the functioning of the court while the Minister of Justice, not waiting for the effects, arbitrarily, disregarding the voice of the judicial community, has taken the decision that cannot be accepted. The General Assembly of the Judges of the Regional Court in Toruń adopted a resolution protesting against the dismissal of the vice president of the Regional Court.

(Source: http://www.iustitia.pl/uchwaly/2054-uchwaly-sedziow-z-torunia-oraz-oddzialu-torunsko-wloclawskiego-stowarzyszenia-iustitia;

http://www.iustitia.pl/uchwaly/2112-sedziowie-sadu-okregowego-w-toruniu-protestuja-przeciwko-odwolaniu-wiceprezes-so-w-toruniu-katarzyny-borowy)

  • In response to the dismissal during the term of office of the president and vice president of the Regional Court in Jelenia Góra, the General Assembly of the Judges of the Regional Court in Jelenia Góra adopted a resolution in which they expressed their opposition against the decision and against the lack of merit-based justification for it. It was assessed as reprehensible that the Minister of Justice blamed the dismissed court presidents for the worsening results of the court’s work while it was the omission on the part of the Minister who has been blocking the appointments for vacancies in both the regional and the district courts that has been the reason for the poorer results of these courts. Putting the blame for the worse results on the dismissed court presidents and depriving them of an opportunity to argue with these unfair and ungrounded allegations is an example of manipulation in order to tarnish the reputation of the judiciary in the eyes of the public. It has been emphasised that it is the Minister of Justice who is obliged by the law to ensure efficient work of the courts, in particular, by providing adequate staffing.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/uchwaly/2071-uchwala-zgromadzenia-ogolnego-sedziow-okregu-sadu-okregowego-w-jeleniej-gorze-z-dnia-12-stycznia-2018r)

  • In the case of the dismissal before the end of the term of office of the president of the District Court in Braniewo, the Ministry of Justice announced that this court holds the 301th place with respect to civil cases re-entered into the register.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/2082-kolejni-sedziowie-z-ministerstwa-sprawiedliwosci-powolani-na-prezesow-sadow)

  • In response to the dismissal during the term of office of the presidents and vice presidents of the Regional Court in Radom and the District Court in Radom, the General Assembly of Judges of the Radom Court Region adopted a resolution in which they expressed their opposition against this decision and the lack of justification for it.

(Source: http://www.iustitia.pl/uchwaly/2081-uchwala-zgromadzenia-ogolnego-sedziow-okregu-radomskiego-z-dnia-21-grudnia-2017-r )

  • In response to the dismissal during the term of office of the presidents and vice presidents of the District Court for Warszawa Śródmieście and the District Court for the capital city of Warsaw in Warsaw, the  General Assembly of Representatives of the Judges of the Court Region of the Regional Court in Warsaw adopted a resolution expressing their opposition against the interruption by the Minister of Justice of the term of office of court presidents and vice presidents for arbitrary reasons, without the participation of the judiciary self-government.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/uchwaly/2122-uchwala-nr-3-zgromadzenia-przedstawicieli-sedziow-okregu-sadu-okregowego-w-warszawie)

 

  • In response to the dismissal during the term of office of the president of the Regional Court in Łódź, the president of the District Court for Łódź – Śródmieście, vice presidents of this court and the vice president of the District Court for Łódź – Widzew, the  General Assembly of the Łódź Region adopted a resolution to express their opposition against the dismissal, contrary to the opinion of the judges and without credible merit-based justification.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/2127-uchwaly-zgromadzenia-przedstawicieli-sedziow-okregu-lodzkiego-z-dnia-26-02-2018-r)

 

  • In response to the dismissal during the term of office of the president and vice president of the District Court for Poznań – Stare Miasto and the president of the District court for Poznań – Nowe Miasto and Wilda, the  General Assembly of the Judges of the Court Region of the Regional Court in Poznań adopted a resolution expressing their opposition against providing the public with selective statistical data leading to incorrect conclusions about the work of the courts headed by the dismissed presidents or against groundless blaming of the dismissed presidents and vice presidents for the deterioration of statistical results in the courts under their management.

(Source:http://www.iustitia.pl/uchwaly/2125-uchwaly-zgromadzenia-przedstawicieli-sedziow-okregu-sadu-okregowego-w-poznaniu-z-dnia-26-lutego-2018-r)

 

  • In response to the dismissal during the term of office of the presidents and vice presidents of the Regional Court in Kalisz and the Regional Court in Ostrów Wielkopolski, the General Assembly of the Judges of the Kalisz Court Region adopted a resolution expressing their opposition against the decisions that do not contain any merit-based justification. Referring to the ministerial communication, it was raised that the document invoked an outdated indicator of handing the incoming cases from the first half of the year 2017. It was emphasized that a proper analysis requires taking into consideration the change of this indicator in the long-term, in the current staffing context and in the view of the actual caseload per each adjudicating judge.

(Source: http://www.iustitia.pl/images/pliki/uchwaly/SO%20Kalisz%20uchwala%2001.jpg )

 

  • In response to the dismissal during the term of office of the presidents and vice presidents of the courts in the Rzeszów appellate courts’ jurisdiction, the Meeting of Judges of the Appellate Court in Rzeszów adopted a resolution expressing their opposition against the arbitrary staffing decisions. It was pointed out that the staffing decisions of the Ministry of Justice and other authorities have had negative impact on the results of this court’s work. Out of the 23 adjudicating positions only 17 are currently filled, which is a result of the failure by the Minister of Justice to issue the announcements about the 4 vacancies on the positions of judges in a situation where, according to the law in force as of 21 June 2017, the Minister of Justice was obliged to issue such announcement immediately after the positions became vacant. The difficult staffing situation was aggravated by the transfer of one vacated judge post to one of the regional courts, and recently also the refusal by the Ministry of Justice to agree to further secondment of a judge of the Regional Court in Przemyśl, whose adjudicating work received positive assessment, to adjudicate in the 3rd Labour and Social Security Division of the local Appellate Court.

(Source: http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/2138-uchwala-zebrania-sedziow-sadu-apelacyjnego-w-rzeszowie-z-dnia-28-lutego-2018-r)

 

  • In response to the dismissal during the term of office of the president of the Regional Court in Świdnica, president and vice president of the Appellate Court in Wrocław, the president of the District Court in Wałbrzych,  the General Assembly of Judges of the Court Region of the Regional Court in Świdnica adopted a resolution expressing their opposition against the staffing decisions taken without providing any merit-based justification.

(Source: http://www.iustitia.pl/informacje/2137-uchwala-zgromadzenia-ogolnego-sedziow-okregu-sadu-okregowego-w-swidnicy-z-dnia-26-lutego-2018-r)