The presidential draft amendments to the Supreme Court law are pending in the Sejm. The Sejm Judiciary Commission recommended that the provision on the “test of impartiality and independence of a judge” with regard to already valid judgments be reinstated in the draft. She also chose to delete the preamble.
During a meeting that lasted more than an hour on Wednesday evening, the committee recommended 16 of 53 amendments tabled at second reading to the draft amendments to the Supreme Court provisions.
Positive advice was given to 15 PiS amendments and one to Solidarna Polska. The amendments of the opposition, the rest of Solidarna Polska and one PiS amendment were negative. The SP has withdrawn some of the amendments.
The project initiated by President Andrzej Duda mainly concerns the liquidation of the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber. Judges now serving in the Disciplinary Chamber would have the choice of moving to another chamber or retiring. A Chamber of Professional Responsibility would be established in the Supreme Court. Of all the judges of the Supreme Court, with the exception of e.g. the presidents of the chambers of the Supreme Court, 33 persons are randomly selected, among whom the president must elect 11 judges to compose the Chamber of Appeal for a term of office of five years .
The “test of a judge’s impartiality and independence” envisaged in the draft, in turn, is to give every citizen – as the president noted – the right to have his case examined by an impartial and independent court. A party or litigant could submit a request to investigate the requirements of independence and impartiality.
Kaleta: I feel harassed by one of the deputies
During the committee meeting there was a humorous exchange of views between parliamentarians.
– Mr President, I feel harassed by one of the deputies – said Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta from Solidarna Polska jokingly. As reported by TVN24 reporter Michał Gołębiowski, it was in response to the behavior of Magdalena Filiks, a member of the Civic Coalition. – I deal with crumbs – replied the MP to Kaleta’s words, which were a reference to Zbigniew Ziobro’s statement, who said that you cannot be a “crumb” during negotiations, which encouraged Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to veto discuss the combination of payments from EU funds with the rule of law mechanism in the Member States of the European Union.
Last week, the parliamentary committee on justice recommended a bill tabled by President Andrzej Duda, while passing amendments, including Solidarity Poland. According to them, one of the articles regarding the possibility to conduct a “test of impartiality and independence” of judges with regard to judgments already rendered has been removed from the draft. After the amendment of Solidarna Polska, a preamble has also been added to the design.
On Wednesday, law and justice deputies – in second reading – tabled amendments, including amendments that fundamentally restore the previous form of the bill. 16 MPs voted in favor of the return of the articles on the “test” in the event of legally binding decisions in the committee, 13 were against and two abstained. The amendment to delete the preamble was also positively recommended – 26 votes in favour, four against.
The Sejm will vote on the adoption of these provisions on the Supreme Court at its current meeting.
Dolniak: We warn you that this bill does not meet the requirements of the European Commission
Earlier on Wednesday, a debate about this took place in the plenary hall. Barbara Dolniak (KO) said her club was right to warn about the fallout from previous laws, which she believes have “ruined the Polish legal system”. – We said they are evil and unconstitutional, violate the rule of law and have nothing to do with democracy. You have not listened to us and today, thanks to your persistence, the state budget is being cut by a million euros every day. (…) It is the fault of your rulers – she said, pointing, among other things, to a fine of EUR 1 million per day imposed on Poland by the ECJ in the case of the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber.
– Today we warn you: this bill does not meet the conditions of the European Commission, on which the disbursement of KPO funds depends. The liquidation of the Disciplinary Chamber is a fiction and only a name change. In fact, this is a propaganda implementation of the CJEU judgment, she ruled.
She stated that the ruling camp’s proposal was even worse than the original laws it had enacted. She pointed out that under the new proposal, it would be the president — a politician — who would elect judges to the Chamber of Appeals and do so alone at his discretion. It may turn out, she emphasized, that the same judges who sat in the disciplinary chamber may be elected.
Another KO deputy, Arkadiusz Myrcha, said that in order to restore the justice system in Poland, it is necessary to start restoring the provisions on the National Council of the Judiciary that are in line with the constitution. He announced that his club would not “lend a hand” to the passing of the law as it stands. He states that the KO will submit a motion to reject the law in second reading and, if that proves impossible, would table amendments aimed at restoring the proper functioning of the National Council for the Judiciary.
Left: The President’s Project Powders Reality
MP Anna Maria Żukowska (left) judged during Wednesday’s debate that the project submitted by President Andrzej Duda “powders reality”. – He replaces the sign of the Disciplinary Chamber with that of the Chamber of Professional Responsibility and juggles a little with the influence of the President, winking at the European Commission that this political influence will not work, but it is not true – said the MP.
According to another member of the left, Katarzyna Ueberhan, the introduction of the Chamber of Appeals into the Supreme Court instead of the Disciplinary Chamber is “a repainted sign and a play of make-believe.” – Continuation of the show about political order. New title, old actors, old game – said the MP.
The left, she said, “cannot and will not support this project in this way”.
Belt: water photo, photo montage
Member of Parliament Krzysztof Paszyk, representative of the Polish Coalition Club PSL, stressed that “today we must put an end to this false story, which has been flowing on the lips of United Right politicians for several days, about the alleged ill will of the opposition, about the linking the president’s account with European funds”. – Ladies and gentlemen, this is a water drink, photo montage – said the MP.
Paszyk pointed out that the Polish Coalition Club was the first to express its will to cooperate with the president on this project. – Even for the Law and Justice party, we have expressed our willingness to cooperate with this project without any conditions, except for our three amendments, which were ultimately not approved at all, said the KP-PSL MP.
Due to the proposed amendments, the bill was referred back to the Justice Committee. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday evening, after 7.30 pm.
Main photo source: The Sejm of the Republic of Poland