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.
Poland: Defamation of Justice (Anne Sanders, Verfassungsblog.de)
Public debate is an essential element of a democratic society. While this debate should not spare the judiciary, public attacks against the judiciary of a critical intensity can be observed in several European countries. The most recent example originates from Poland, where, in September 2017, a campaign on bill boards and on the internet was launched in support of the controversial draft acts on judicial reform. The campaign portrays judges as a "privileged cast" and as being corrupt, criminal and incompetent. Having regard to these events, it should be borne in mind that attacks against the judiciary from members of the legislative and executive can pose real threats to judicial independence and the separation of powers. This post takes these considerations as the starting point for a general discussion on how to properly evaluate public criticism of the judiciary. We suggest a frame of reference which seeks to balance the right of free speech and the legitimate interest of the judiciary to not have its legitimacy and independence abridged by political actors. In this regard, we argue that the level of scrutiny must depend on where such criticism comes from.