22 November 2018

Poland to reinstate supreme court judges

Following ECJ ruling, Poland is taking steps to reinstate the 27 Supreme Court judges forced to retire under controversial judicial reforms.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro told Polish MPs yesterday that he ‘respected the rules and principles of the European Union’ as he introduced a legislative amendment restoring the judicial retirement age to 70.

Government control

As reported last month on GLP, 27 of 72 sitting Supreme Court judges were forced to retire earlier this year after reforms which reduced the retirement age to 65. The European Network of Councils for the Judiciary described the reforms as an ‘attempt to bring the judiciary under control of the government.’ Last month, the European Court of Justice provisionally granted a request from the European Commission to suspend the law, allow the ousted judges to continue working, and refrain from appointing replacements.


The European Commission believes Poland’s judicial reforms are incompatible with EU law as they undermine the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and thereby Poland fails to fulfil its obligations under article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union read in connection with article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.