20–30 judges of the almost 100 are to remain in the Supreme Court.The remainder will retire.
The ruling group is preparing a further unveiling of the reform of the judiciary. As Rzeczpospolita unofficially established, there will be changes in both the Supreme Court, as well as the ordinary and administrative courts.
The most radical changes will be in the Supreme Court: according to our sources, instead of 97 judges (out of 125 positions) an elite 20- or possibly 30-person group of them will remain. The remainder will retire due to reorganisation. The current Supreme Court chambers are also to be combined. The Disciplinary Chamber, with respect to the operation of which the Court of Justice of the EU has the greatest reservations, is to be combined with the Criminal Chamber – this chamber does not give rise to any doubts. The Civil Chamber is to be combined with the Labour Chamber.
This is not the end of the revolution. The excess functions of judges in the ordinary courts are to disappear – today 4,000 of the 10,000 judges have additional functions. Some judges even have two additional functions. This means double the allowances, as well as very limited time for judicial work.
The status of judges is also to be reformed.
‘We are working on changes, through which the judges of the ordinary and administrative court, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court will have a uniform position in the system, regardless of the instance in which they adjudicate,’ announces Anna Dalkowska, deputy minister of justice.
Her ministry also wants to reduce the number of cases being received by the courts. It is currently more than 16 million per year.
‘Some cases which are heard by the ordinary courts are public law cases, which could be transferred to the administrative courts,’ believes Dalkowska. She also reiterates that it is the administrative courts and not the ordinary courts that exercise control over state administration.
Even within PiS itself, it can be increasingly heard that the structure of the judiciary is to be flattened through the liquidation of the district courts and the courts of appeal and the introduction of the institution of the justice of the peace.
MP Marek Ast, chairman of the Sejm’s Justice Committee nominated by PiS confirms that further changes will take place. He also makes the assurance that there is still no draft.
Hearing about the changes in the Supreme Court, Judge Bartłomiej Przymusiński from the Iustitia association of judges says there is no doubt that this is about making a copy of the current Constitutional Tribunal, which accepts all the decisions of the authorities, out of the Supreme Court. He also has no illusions about the further changes announced by PiS: ‘Nothing good will come of this,’ believes the judge.