European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary (RECJ)
ENCJ Newsletter 7th Edition PDF Print E-mail
The 7th Edition of the ENCJ Bulletin is published. In this new edition, you may read a report of the last meeting of the General Assembly in Vilnius, and news regarding the Judiciary and the judicial policies in several European countries.
 
ENCJ Executive Board´s opinion on the Presidential draft Act of Poland PDF Print E-mail
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 PDF Print E-mail
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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New members of the SJC of Bulgaria PDF Print E-mail
The new members of the Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) took their oaths of office on the 3rd of October 2017 in a ceremony at the Palace of Justice in Sofia. The 22 new members who were elected by the magistrates (judges, prosecutors and investigators) and the Parliament will serve five-year term, in addition to the three ex-officio members of the Council – the heads of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court and the Prosecutor General.
After the Constitutional amendments, in force since 22 December 2015, the Supreme Judicial Council is divided into two colleges – the College of Judges and the College of Prosecutors. The Judges' College of the SJC consists of 14 members: the chairpersons of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court, six members directly elected by the judges and six members elected by the National Assembly. The Prosecutors' College of the SJC is composed by 11 members: the Prosecutor General, four members elected directly by the prosecutors, one member elected directly by the investigators, and five members elected by the National Assembly.
In May and June 2017, as a result of the General Meetings of Judges, Prosecutors and Investigators, the members of the professional quota of the new Supreme Judicial Council (six judges, four prosecutors and one investigator) were elected in a procedure of direct elections by their colleagues, a procedure which is applied for the first time. In September were elected the members of the SJC from the quota of the National Assembly: respectively six members of the Judges' College and five members of the Prosecutors' College.
This is the 8th composition of the SJC and at their first meeting, on the 3rd of October 2017, the new members of the SJC elected the new Representative of the Council – Mr Boyan Magadalinchev, who until his election as SJC Member served as Vice-president of the Supreme Administrative Court. The Minister of Justice is not a member of the SJC but chairs the Council’s weekly meetings.

The new members of the Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) took their oaths of office on the 3rd of October 2017 in a ceremony at the Palace of Justice in Sofia. The 22 new members who were elected by the magistrates (judges, prosecutors and investigators) and the Parliament will serve a five-year term, in addition to the three ex-officio members of the Council – the heads of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court and the Prosecutor General. 

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ENCJ President receives medal from the Polish National Council for the Judiciary PDF Print E-mail

On the 28th of September the Polish Judiciary celebrated 100 years of Independent Judiciary. In a special ceremony Ms Nuria Díaz Abad, President of the ENCJ, was awarded a medal of the National Council of the Judicial of Poland “ Meritorious for Justice – Bene Merentibus Iustitiae” for her work on behalf of the ENCJ promoting and defending an independent and accountable judiciary for the benefit of all in Poland and elsewhere in Europe. The President of the CCJE, Mr Nils Engstad, was awarded the same medal. 

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