Cover Osteuropa 8-9/2021

In Osteuropa 8-9/2021

Spinning Wheel in Perpetual Motion
Judiciary Reform in Poland

Marta Bucholc, Maciej Komornik

Deutsche Fassung


The destruction of the rule of law in Poland continues, and the conflict with the European Union is escalating. Legal chaos now reigns. One-sixth of the judges in ordinary courts have now assumed office with the involvement of the National Council of the Judiciary. They have issued more than two million rulings. But as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has confirmed, their appointment contradicted European law. According to the ECJ, Polish courts are obligated to examine the independence of these judges and their rulings. The government has been backed into a corner and is reacting by intensifying the conflict. A gag law prohibits this examination. Judges who adhere to judicial independence are bullied by the chairmen who have assumed office under the government formed in 2015, or they are treated patronisingly by the equally contentious disciplinary chamber. Now the government has resorted to the big guns. The Polish Constitutional Court, which is subservient to the government, has certified that the ECJ exceeded its powers, and that the Treaty on European Union is incompatible with the Polish constitution. Poland is facing fines and subsidy cuts, but giving in is not this government’s style.

(Osteuropa 8-9/2021, pp. 5–24)