Polish government introduces judiciary reforms

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The Polish government approved a draft bill on judicial system. The bill would give the parliament control over judges appointments and according to Poland’s National Council of the Judiciary (KRS) would in effect change the country’s political system. “The scope of changes which breach Polish constitution means that by adopting this draft into the law in its current form will result in changing the nation’s political system,” KRS wrote in a statement.

The proposed bill would end the terms of the current KRS members and allow the parliament to select 15 of its 25 representatives. The Council has powers to nominate judges, who are later appointed by the president. Its members are currently mostly selected by the judges themselves for four-year terms, the parliament has a right to choose four of them.“This way, the government wants to decrease the meaning of judges in favor of politicians,” the statement said.

According to the government, the changes are necessary in order to make courts work faster and more efficient and destroy the “judiciary establishment.” Deputy Justice Minister Marcin Warchoł said “Courts are one of the three powers, not a superior power, which is reserved for citizens, for the nation.”

Ombudsman Adam Bodnar called on Poles to support judges against the planned changes, which he said were aimed at subordinating the top judiciary council to politicians.

“Today the judges need our support, the support of society. We should not leave them alone at the mercy of politicians,” Bodnar said.

If the bill is approved by parliament it would come into force after 30 days, effectively terminating current KRS members terms.

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