The Case of Judge Igor Tuleya: Continued Threats to Judicial Independence in Poland (American Bar Association)

The ABA Center for Human Rights monitored the disciplinary proceedings against Judge Igor Tuleya in Warsaw, Poland after serious concerns were raised by the international community that the case against him was politically motivated. It was one of the first and most high-profile disciplinary cases opened against a judge under Poland’s new system for judicial discipline. Since regaining power in 2015, the Law and Justice Party (PiS) has passed numerous pieces of legislation affecting Poland’s judicial system. These reforms impact the scope of disciplinary liability of judges, the structure of and appointments within the judicial disciplinary system, and the applicable disciplinary procedures. The reforms have faced widespread criticism from international organizations and the European Union as they generally increase opportunities for overt political influence over the judiciary. Unfortunately, these concerns have been borne out in the instant case.