German Judges Worry About Heavy Backlash for Judicial Independence in Poland

Berlin. The German Judges Association (Deutscher Richterbund, DRB) worries about a further heavy backlash for judicial independence in Poland.

„The Disciplinary Chamber that was implemented at the Polish Supreme Court by the governing majority is supposed to resume its work on Tuesday. In doing so, Poland would openly disobey the order of the European Court of Justice, which is, to stop the work of the Disciplinary Chamber until the European Court of Justice has decided on its compatibility with European law,“ said the presidents of the German Judges Association, Barbara Stockinger and Joachim Lüblinghoff.

„The independence and impartiality of the newly installed Disciplinary Chamber are very much in doubt. Obviously, its main purpose is to intimidate judges and to erode judicial independence.“


The presidents of the DRB warned that with regard to the Rule of Law it was like a bursting of a dam if judges were covered with disciplinary proceedings because of the contents of their decisions, or because of statements critical of the govermnent. „The Polish government appears to be making a first exampel here, which could be followed by many further proceedings against judges who are unpopular with the government.“

Stockinger and Lüblinghoff appeal to the EU Commission and the European Court of Justice to stop the dismantlement of judicial independence in Poland by all means. “In Europe, there must not exist any alternative to the Rule of Law and a clear separation of powers,” they admonished.


Background: Since Malgorzata Manowska, a confident of the Polish Minister of Justice, has advanced to the top of Supreme Court at the end of May, the Disciplinary Chamber is going to resume its work on 9th of June with a hearing of Warsaw Judge Igor Tuleya. On 8th of April 2020, the European Court of Justice had granted the European Commission’s application for interim measures (C 719/19) by ordering that, due to significant doubts about the lawfulness of the Disciplinary Chamber, the Chamber must not conduct any more disciplinary proceedings against judges before the European Court of Justice’s final decision in that matter.


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