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June 09, 2023

Statement of ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross Re: Judicial independence in Poland

WASHINGTON, June 9, 2023 — I recently had the opportunity to visit Warsaw to attend an event at the Warsaw Bar Association and to speak with the members of the legal community, representatives of non-governmental organizations and local leaders on the current state of judicial independence and the rule of law in Poland. The trip’s goal was to express the American Bar Association’s solidarity and support to the members of the legal profession and Polish society who are subjected to the backsliding of judicial independence and rule of law in Poland.

This week, for example, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a final ruling that Polish judicial reforms that had introduced a new disciplinary system for judges in December 2019 violated European law.

While we acknowledge Poland’s impressive leadership amid the external security threat in Europe, the ABA firmly believes that upholding the rule of law and judicial independence in Poland is imperative, especially under the circumstances of ongoing regional conflict. We, therefore, urge the Polish government to promptly remedy concerns regarding politization of judicial appointments, removals and disciplinary processes and to comply with its obligations under international and European law.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.