Programme resolution of the XXIX Ordinary Assembly of Delegates of the Polish Judges Association "Iustitia" in Ołtarzew
Having in mind the current events in the country and abroad as well as the upcoming challenges, the Association of Polish Judges "Iustitia" indicates the priorities in its activity in the years 2023-2024:
1. Continuation of the existing activities and implementation of the objectives from the previous programme resolutions
The Association will continue to pursue the objectives from the previous programme resolutions of 2016-2022.
The most important aim is to re-establish the rule of law in our country on the basis of the draft laws prepared by the Association and entities with which we share common values.
As a first step, it is necessary - within the limits of the constitutional and European order - to reverse the negative changes introduced since 2015 and to hold accountable those responsible for violating the rule of law.
2. Building a modern judiciary
The Association of Polish Judges "Iustitia" considers as one of its priorities the preparation and implementation of a real, comprehensive reform that will lead to the creation of a modern judiciary for the 21st century.
Among the systemic assumptions on which such a reform should be based, the following should be singled out:
- the introduction of a system of co-management of the courts by a reformed National Council of the Judiciary and the judiciary self-government, instead of the administrative supervision of the Minister of Justice over the common courts;
- basing the new law on the National Council of the Judiciary on a draft developed by the Association;
- the introduction of a unified position of common court judge.
Many years of negligence, mistakes and irresponsible actions of political power have brought the Polish courts to the brink of disaster. We do not want and cannot be an open-air museum of Europe where the constitutional and treaty right to a court is a fiction.
In the age of increasing digitalisation and globalisation, it is necessary to ensure an efficient, effective and independent judiciary. In this context, the Association calls for the implementation of organisational and technological solutions, such as electronic court management systems, extensive IT support for the judiciary, raising the digital competences of judges and other court staff, digitisation of files, changing court service and opinion delivery systems.
This cannot be achieved without proper funding of the judiciary in a multi-year perspective, as part of an agreement across political divides. This will allow for the modernisation of the courts' infrastructure, the implementation of comprehensive IT solutions, as well as the remuneration of professionally qualified employees appropriate to their tasks and responsibilities.
The Association opposes the freezing of salaries of judges and other professional groups associated with the judiciary, in violation of the Polish Constitution, and encourages them to pursue their rights through the courts using the model lawsuit we have developed.
We expect the construction of a modern judiciary to be recognised as a strategic objective that is important for the security of the Polish State and the adoption of a fixed spending rate on the judiciary along the lines of defence.
3. Protection of judicial independence
The Association of Polish Judges "Iustitia" recognizes that judicial independence is the foundation of a democratic law-governed state. It is crucial to adopt legal solutions leading to a real strengthening of judicial independence and the independence of the courts. The Association will continue to defend judges against all forms of pressure and repression, including through disciplinary measures.
Judicial independence is closely linked to the fundamental right of every citizen to have their case heard by an independent court established by law.
In order to realize this right, it is necessary to establish a National Council of the Judiciary [KRS] composed in accordance with the Polish Constitution and international standards.
In order to eliminate the legal chaos caused by the activities of the politicized neo-KRS, all the competitions that were held with its participation should be repeated. Those who were promoted at the request of the neo-KRS should return to their previous positions.
Politicians of all options are reminded of the words that rang out at the Extraordinary Congress of Polish Judges in Warsaw: "It is not difficult to fight for independence when you are in opposition, it is difficult to respect independence when you are in power."
4. Support for the rule of law abroad
The Association of Polish Judges "Iustitia" declares its full support for actions in defense of the rule of law in other countries, especially Turkey and Israel.
The Association also remembers the Ukrainian judges who have joined in the defense of their homeland and are serving with dedication to ensure the right of their compatriots to an independent court under wartime conditions. At the same time, it declares its full support for the efforts of Ukrainian judges to introduce European standards in the judiciary.
We express our readiness to take action to strengthen the rule of law wherever it is needed, including by providing assistance to persecuted judges, organizing training and conferences.
We appeal to lawyers around the world to stand in solidarity with repressed judges and support the struggle for the rule of law in every latitude.
5 Summary and appeal
The Association of Polish Judges "Iustitia" expresses its conviction that the rule of law is a necessary condition for the development of humanity, universal security and peaceful coexistence of nations. There is no freedom without the rule of law! There is no rule of law without free courts!
Our country is facing historical challenges and also external and internal threats that do not allow indifference.
The Association appeals to everyone for whom the rule of law is dear: Build with us a modern judiciary based on values such as independence, justice and efficiency!
Only united can we create such a judicial system that will serve free people and contribute to the construction of a law-abiding, European and modern Poland.