Case C-619/18 | Commission v Poland

Author (Corporate)
Series Details C-619/18
Publication Date 2018-2019
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Judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the lowering of the retirement age of Poland's Supreme Court (Sąd Najwyższy) judges.

Further information:

In April 2018, a new 'Law on the Supreme Court' entered into force in Poland. Under that law, the retirement age for Supreme Court judges was lowered to 65. The new age limit applied as from the date of entry into force of that law, and included judges of that court appointed before that date. It was possible for Supreme Court judges to continue in active judicial service beyond the age of 65 but this was subject to a declaration of fitness to work and authorisation by the President of the Republic, which would not be bound by any criterion and his decision would not be subject to any form of judicial review.

On 2 October - following the completion of its infringement procedure - the European Commission brought an action against Poland before the CJEU for failure to fulfil obligations. The Commission argued that by lowering the retirement age and applying it to judges already appointed to the Supreme Court, as well as granting the President of the Republic the discretion to extend the active judicial service of judges, Poland was infringing EU law. The Commission also urged the Court of order the suspension of the application of the provisions of that law, which was eventually granted by the Court.

On 11 April 2019, the Court's Advocate General argued in his Opinion that it should be ruled that the provisions of Polish legislation relating to the lowerinf of the retirement age for Supreme Court judged are contrary to EU law, because they violate the principles of irremovability of judges and of judicial independence. This was confirmed by the Court in its judgement released on 24 June.

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Commentary and Analysis
Verfassungsblog, 22/10/2018: Interim Revolutions
Euro|topics, November 2018: Poland suspends forced retirement of judges
Verfassungsblog, 03/12/2018: Why the EU Commission and the Polish Supreme Court Should not Withdraw their Cases from Luxembourg
Verfassungsblog, 11/04/2019: Three Steps Ahead, One Step Aside: The AG’s Opinion in the Commission v. Poland Case
EU Law Analysis, 15/04/2019: Does Poland infringe the principle of effective judicial protection? Recent developments in the CJEU
Verfassungsblog, 28/05/2019: Age is the limit? Background of the CJEU case C-619/18 Commission v Poland
Verfassungsblog, 29/05/2019: The first judgment of the ECJ regarding a breach of the rule of law in Poland?
Amnesty International, 24/06/2019: EU top court condemns Poland’s law forcing Supreme Court judges to retire
Human Rights Watch: News, 25/06/2019: EU Court Condemns Poland’s Judicial Takeover
EU Law Analysis, 30/06/2019: The beginning of the end for Poland’s so-called 'judicial reforms'? Some thoughts on the ECJ ruling in Commission v Poland (Independence of the Supreme Court case)
European Law Blog, 08/07/2019: Thickening up judicial independence: the ECJ ruling in Commission v. Poland (C-619/18)
ECFR: Commentary, 11/07/2019: The EU must defend its rule-of-law revolution

Reuters, 19/10/2018: EU court orders halt to Polish judicial overhaul; leader says to appeal
BBC News, 19/10/2018: EU court orders Poland to halt court retirements law
Reuters, 21/11/2018: Poland reverses Supreme Court law changes after EU ruling
BBC News, 21/11/2018: Poland reverses law on removing judges following EU court ruling
Politico, 21/11/2018: Poland rows back on controversial Supreme Court law
Radio Poland, 21/11/2018: Poland’s ruling conservatives move to reinstate Supreme Court judges
BBC News, 17/12/2018: Poland reinstates Supreme Court judges following EU ruling
EurActiv, 18/12/2018: Poland bows to EU court reversal of Supreme Court retirements
Politico, 11/04/2019: Poland’s judiciary reforms ‘violate’ EU law, says court adviser, 11/04/2019: Poland broke EU law by lowering judges' retirement age, court advisor says
EUCRIM: News, 17/06/2019: AG: Polish Supreme Court Reform is Against EU Law
EurActiv, 24/06/2019: Poland’s judicial reforms violate EU law, bloc’s top court rules
Reuters, 24/06/2019: EU's top court finds cutting retirement age for Poland's Supreme Court unlawful
EUObserver, 24/06/2019: Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
The Guardian, 24/06/2019: EU court rules Poland's lowering of judges' retirement age is unlawful
TVN24, 24/06/2019: EU's top court: cutting retirement age for Poland's Supreme Court unlawful,157,m/ecj-slashing-retirement-age-for-poland-s-supreme-court-unlawful,947237.html
Deutsche Welle, 24/06/2019: EU court says Poland broke law by making judges retire early
Politico, 24/06/2019: EU court finds Polish judicial system changes were illegal
Euronews, 25/06/2019: Poland law reforms 'break EU law' says European Court of Justice
Radio Poland, 25/06/2019: EU court ruling with ‘no practical significance’ for Poland: FM
EUCRIM: News, 09/09/2019: CJEU: Polish Supreme Court Reform Infringes EU Law

CJEU: Press Release, 17/12/2018: Order of the Court in Case C-619/18 R Commission v Poland
EUR-Lex: Opinion of the Advocate General in Case C-619/18
CJEU: Press Release, 11/04/2019: Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-619/18 Commission v Poland
CJEU: Press Release, 24/06/2019: Judgment in Case C-619/18 Commission v Poland
European Commission: European Commission statement on the judgment of the European Court of Justice on Poland's Supreme Court law, 24 June 2019

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