Polish Parliament Passes Amendment to Judicial Reform Bill
Polish Parliament Approves Reform to Guarantee Judicial Independence and Unblock EU Funds
The Polish Parliament approved on January 13 a new reform proposal that complies with the requirements to guarantee judicial independence set by the European Union (EU). The proposal was supported by 203 deputies and 52 against while 189 abstained, allowing it to move forward.
The reform modifies certain aspects of the judicial reform initiated by the ultra-conservative Polish Government in 2015. It transfers the disciplinary jurisdiction of the judges to the Supreme Administrative Court, to relieve the Chamber of Professional Responsibility of its functions and to assume the competence to treat applications related to the immunity of all Polish magistrates.
Previously, the Disciplinary Chamber, created by the Government, was in charge of such cases, but since its establishment faced criticism from the judiciary and European judicial institutions, which led to the EU imposing a fine of one million Euros on Poland and blocking 36,000 million Euros of post-pandemic funds allocated to Warsaw.
With the dissolution of the Disciplinary Chamber, the Polish Executive hopes to satisfy the European demands to guarantee the Rule of Law. Government’s spokesman, Piotr Müller, declared that the way is open to retrieve the funds in May or June.
However, there are other steps needed to make the reform viable, including the Senate vote and presidential sanction by the President Andrzej Duda, who has expressed concerns about the proposal.