Poland: Top court ruling against primacy of EU law 'another dark for justice' in the country

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EU Court has played an important role in safeguarding Polish judges against a mounting attack on judicial independence

In response to Poland’s court ruling today that some EU laws conflict with the country’s constitution, Eve Geddie, Amnesty International’s Director of the European Institutions Office, said:                                                                          

“This is another dark day for justice in Poland. With this ruling the court has effectively ruled that Polish law supersedes EU law and challenged the EU’s ability to protect human rights and the rule of law within member states.

“The ruling is part of a wider struggle over independence of the judiciary in Poland.

“With the move to brazenly sidestep the EU Court and the protection it offers; Poland has steered itself on a collision course with the European Union.

“The EU and member states must take urgent legal, political and financial action and make clear that these fundamental principles are not open to negotiation or gamesmanship.”

About the ruling

The ruling was issued in response to the query of the Prime Minister of Poland, who asked the Constitutional Tribunal to examine the compliance of provisions of the Treaty on EU, in particular the principle of primacy of EU law, with the Polish Constitution.

However, the independence of the Constitutional Tribunal itself has been questioned by the European institutions as well as the European Court of Human Rights. Today’s ruling was delivered by a full bench of the Constitutional Tribunal, including irregularly appointed judges. As such, it did not meet the requirements of an independent court.

On 15 July, the EU Court held that the disciplinary regime for judges in Poland is not compatible with EU law and asked Poland to take the measures necessary to rectify the situation.

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