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December 11, 2019

Statement of ABA President Judy Perry Martinez Re: Polish judiciary

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2019 – The American Bar Association welcomes the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Poland, which found that the court’s Polish Disciplinary Chamber and the National Council of the Judiciary are not sufficiently independent from executive and legislative authorities.

Both entities have been criticized by Polish civil society and international rule-of-law organizations for exerting improper political influence on Poland’s judicial system. 

On Nov. 19, the Court of Justice for the European Union found that the Polish Supreme Court must determine whether those two bodies are sufficiently free from executive and legislative influence to comply with Polish and EU laws. On Dec. 5, the Polish Supreme Court found that the council, which appoints judges, is not sufficiently independent and that the chamber, which disciplines judges, does not qualify as a court under EU law.

The ABA encourages the Polish government to comply with this decision and reform the judicial disciplinary system. Further, the ABA urges a review of all disciplinary cases in which actions were taken against judges who had made critical statements about new laws and policies governing the Polish judiciary.

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