The Polish Judges Association “Iustitia” protests against surveys commissioned by the governmental Institute of Justice

The “Iustitia” Association has decided to send a request to ESOMAR (European Association of Public Opinion and Market Researchers) and OFBOR (Organization, Opinion and Market Research Company) regarding a recent survey conducted by the public opinion research centre Kantar Polska SA done on behalf of the Institute of Justice reporting to the Minister of Justice.

The survey contained 3 controversial questions.

  • Should judges be disciplined by an independent body out of the judges' environment? (Possible answers: "Yes" "No")
  • Should there be a specialized body in the Polish legal system for resolving and disciplinary liability of judges (Possible answers: "Yes" "No")
  • Are you pro or against that Poles could influence the shape of the judiciary, just like the citizens of some other European Union countries? "(Possible answers " Yes "" No ")

Judges gathered in of the “Iustitia” Association have consulted the method of way the questions were formulated and asked with scientists involved in social research. It turns out that from the point of view of the methodology of putting the questions the way they were formulated is unacceptable and contains the hallmarks of intentional manipulation. The respondents were not able to give 'I don't know' answer, and the questions were suggestive, ambiguous and biased.

It is not known what the term "before an independent body out of the judges' environment" means (would the respondents prefer that the judges can be judged by the politicians? What kind of body authority is it?). Similarly it is not known what "specialized body in the Polish legal system for resolving and disciplinary liability of judges" means. In this case there is a suggestion here that there has never been such a body, and this is not true. People may become convinced that the judges were once deprived of any disciplinary system and it is not true.

The last question fragment "just like the citizens of some other European Union countries?" Is also unacceptable, because it is impossible to expect the respondents to have a lot of knowledge about legal systems in the EU countries, and there is a suggestion here that everywhere in Europe citizens have influence on the shape of the judiciary, and it is different in Poland only.

In Iustutia`s opinion, the above mentioned questions were intended to force respondents to receive answers expected by the Ministry of Justice, and not reliable understanding of public opinion and hence intervention in organizations that care for standards in surveys.