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ENCJ Executive Board´s statement on the latest draft law on the Judicial Council of Poland

The ENCJ Executive Board is greatly dismayed to learn that the Polish Parliamentary Justice Committee has adopted a number of far-reaching amendments to the law on the National Judicial Council of Poland (Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa – the ‘KRS’) and has done so, as before, without any meaningful consultation with the KRS. These amendments are expected to be adopted by the Parliament and the Senate within the next days. (full statement)

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ENCJ Executive Board´s opinion on the Presidential draft Act of Poland
The ENCJ has received a request for cooperation from the National Judicial Council of Poland (Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa - KRS). The KRS has turned to the Executive Board of ENCJ to be advised on the compatibility of the Presidential draft Act on the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland with European standards including, in particular, the independence of the judiciary and the status of councils for the judiciary.
The ENCJ, in principle, does not give opinions on draft legislation, but it will set out the generally applicable ENCJ principles. Taking  this into account the Executive Board (the ‘Board’) puts forward the following observations and comments.

On 3rd October 2017 the ENCJ has received a request for cooperation from the National Judicial Council of Poland (Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa - KRS). The KRS has turned to the Executive Board of ENCJ to be advised on the compatibility of the Presidential draft Act on the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland with European standards including, in particular, the independence of the judiciary and the status of councils for the judiciary.The ENCJ, in principle, does not give opinions on draft legislation, but it has set out the generally applicable ENCJ principles in the Executive Board opinion of 13 October 2017. The Board in its final remarks states that it feels that the Presidential draft Act does not alleviate the concerns which it has previously expressed concerning planned judicial reforms in Poland. 

Presidential draft Act on the law of the National Judicial Council of Poland

Opinion of the ENCJ Executive Board of 13 October 2017

Opinion of the ENCJ Executive Board of 17 July 2017

Opinion of the ENCJ Executive Board of 30 January 2017

 
Statement of the ENCJ Executive Board concerning judicial reforms in Poland
The ENCJ has been following the situation in Poland closely and has on several occasions called upon the executive to respect the independence of the judiciary, and to undertake reforms to the justice system only after meaningful consultation with the Council for the Judiciary and the judges themselves .
In an opinion drafted at the request of  the National Judicial Council of Poland (Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa – KRS) in relation to draft-legislation that would affect both the composition and functioning of the KRS, the Board of the ENCJ concluded that the draft laws could harm the independence of the judiciary in Poland and that ENCJ standards were not met in several fields . It also stated that these standards are not developed to serve the interests of the judiciary. The standards simply reflect the shared principles and values of the EU Member States which guarantee a proper functioning of a democratic system based on the Rule of Law.
An ENCJ delegation recently met a group of representatives of the Polish judiciary and was informed about the ongoing reform of the judiciary by the governing party. Draft legislation currently being considered by the government includes the possible dismissal of all presidents and vice-presidents of common courts and subsequent appointment of new presidents by the executive; the setting up of disciplinary chambers consisting of peoples’ representatives in the Supreme Court and the dismissal of the Presidents and a substantial number of judges of the Supreme Court. In addition, there are reports of regular attacks upon the judiciary in the media by the executive and intimidation of individual judges.
The Board of the ENCJ is gravely concerned by the developments, which are taking place in Poland. The Board wishes to point out that a key requirement for maintaining and enhancing mutual trust between judicial authorities in the EU, as a basis for mutual recognition, is the independence, quality and efficiency of the judicial systems and respect for the rule of law.
The Board of the ENCJ reiterates that the Rule of Law is at the core of the European Union. Respect for the Rule of Law is a prerequisite for the protection of all fundamental values listed in the Treaties, including democracy and fundamental rights. To uphold and protect the Rule of Law is a responsibility for both the judiciary and other state powers. For the effective preservation of the Rule of Law, independent and accountable justice systems are needed. The Board emphasizes that fair and impartial courts are the key institutions of an independent judiciary.
Done in Brussels
26th April 2017

The ENCJ has been following the situation in Poland closely and has on several occasions called upon the executive to respect the independence of the judiciary, and to undertake reforms to the justice system only after meaningful consultation with the Council for the Judiciary and the judges themselves (Warsaw Declaration 3 June 2016).

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2017 EU Justice Scoreboard

The European Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Ms. Vera Jourova presented the 2017 EU Justice Scoreboard on Monday 10th April. eu_justice_scoreboard_2017

According to the Commission this 5th edition of the EU Justice Scoreboard confirms that effective justice systems are essential to build trust in a business and investment-friendly environment in the single market. Ms Jourova therefore encourages Member States to ensure that any justice reform respects the rule of law and judicial independence as this is key for citizens and businesses to fully enjoy their rights. An independent and well-functioning justice system is a fundamental pillar of every democracy.

As with previous editions the ENCJ and its Members collaborated with the European Commission on the Scorebaord specificially in the chapter dealing with Judicial Independence.

 
Statement by the Executive Board on the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome

Brussels, 25th March 2017

On the day that the European Union is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome, the ENCJ, which unites the Councils for the Judiciary and similar autonomous bodies from the EU Members States, would like to reiterate the following:

The rule of law is at the core of the European Union. It is one of the fundamental values upon which the EU is founded, together with democracy and fundamental rights. These common values have been debated and settled in legislations and laws, enabling peaceful cooperation for the last 60 years. Respect for the rule of law is a prerequisite for the protection of all fundamental values listed in the Treaties, including democracy and fundamental rights.

To uphold and protect the rule of law is a responsibility for both the judiciary and other state powers. The ENCJ calls on the Member States to respect fair and impartial courts, as the key institutions of an independent judiciary.

For the effective implementation of the rule of law, independent and accountable justice systems are needed. The ENCJ strongly believes that today the network is of vital importance to the further development of judiciaries in Europe. The ENCJ will continue its efforts to promote effective judicial systems in terms of efficiency, quality, independence and accountability for the benefit of all.

 
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05/04/2016 > CCJE and the CCPE publish report on the challenges for judicial impartiality and independence in Council of Europe member States

Report from the CCJE and the CCPE on the main challenges for judicial impartiality and independence in Council of Europe member States The Bureaus of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE [ ... ]


 

 

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