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July 26, 2019

Statement of ABA President Bob Carlson Re: The rule of law and judicial independence in Poland

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2019 – I was honored to travel to Warsaw, Poland, this month to consult with representatives of the legal profession, the courts, and the international community. The main goal of the visit was to demonstrate the American Bar Association’s continued support for the rule of law and judicial independence in Poland, which is under threat due to recent changes to laws regulating the judiciary.

The ABA urges the Polish government to implement relevant rulings by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and other European Union (EU) bodies concerning judicial independence, including a recent decision that a recent Polish law lowering the retirement age of judges of the Polish Supreme Court from 70 to 65 was contrary to EU law.

The ABA has repeatedly expressed concern about the systematic efforts underway in Poland to undermine the independence of the judiciary, including efforts to undermine the process for appointing judges and use of disciplinary measures as retaliation against judges who are critical of attacks on the judiciary. Urgent reforms are needed to address these concerns. Poland will not be able to partner effectively on transnational concerns or promote economic growth without restoring its commitment to the rule of law. 

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.