Poland’s global reputation will be placed at risk if it ploughs ahead with a law that will weaken the independence of its Supreme Court and potentially politicise the country’s judiciary, the Law Society of England and Wales said today.
A piece of legislation is due to come into force on 3 July, which empowers Poland’s president, to determine how the court is constituted, setting a dangerous precedent that could roll back judicial independence.
The legislation will also lead to almost 40% of sitting Supreme Court’s judges being dismissed when the retirement age is lowered from 70 to 65.
“Poland’s judicial system must remain independent of the government’s legislative and executive branches,” Law Society president Joe Egan said.
"Any erosion of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary undermines the rule of law and opens the way for abuse of power. Measures that politicise Poland’s courts must be halted immediately.
“The consequences of a politicised legal system may be a society that is less stable, less safe and less fair. That would represent a leap backwards for the citizens of Poland and for the international community.”
While diplomatic efforts to remedy the situation continue at the European parliament, the European Court of Justice may also have the power to intervene.
Joe Egan added: "An independent legal profession and a government accountable to the people are fundamental elements of a nation rooted in the rule of law.
"These pillars are intrinsic to the prosperity of a country and to its international standing.
“We are urging the Polish government to urgently rethink this move and protect the independence of their judiciary.