EU refers Poland to the European Court of Justice

Author Details
Author (Corporate)
Series Details C-619/18
Publication Date 24/09/2018
Content Type

Summary:

On 24 September 2018 the European Commission referred Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) concerning a new rule that in their perspective undermines the judicial independence of the Polish Supreme Court. This rule, part of Poland's controversial judicial reforms, lowered the retirement age from 70 to 65; forcing a third of Poland’s top judges into early retirement. Previous warnings by the EU regarding this rule were neglected by Poland.

In its referral to the CJEU, the European Commission requested the Court of Justice to order interim measures until a judgement has been reached. This request was taken up by the Court of Justice, as they sided with the European Commission, and pressed Poland to immediately reinstate the Supreme Court judges previously retired by the new law. The final judgement of the Court of Justice is still pending.

Further information:

The threat to the rule of law in Poland has been a continuous struggle in the EU since 2015. In December 2017 the European Commission started Article 7 proceedings due to the persistent breach of the rule of law. Various measures have been undertaken since then. For instance, the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) suspended the Polish National Judicial Council from its network and withdrew the voting rights.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
EurActiv, 10.10.18: We lack alternatives to Article 7 – German analyst https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/we-lack-alternatives-to-article-7-german-analyst/
BBC News, 24.09.18: Poland referred to European court over judges' forced retirement https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45628757
BBC News, 19.10.18: EU court orders Poland to halt court retirements law https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45917830
Verfassungsblog, 22.10.18: Interim Revolutions https://verfassungsblog.de/interim-revolutions/

News
EurActiv, 18.09.18: ‘Sad day’ as Poland banned from EU judicial body https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/sad-day-as-poland-banned-from-eu-judicial-body/
Politico, 15.08.18: Brussels advances fight against Poland over Supreme Court law https://www.politico.eu/article/commission-advances-fight-against-poland-over-supreme-court-law-judges-retirement/
EurActiv, 20.09.18: Poland avoids new EU lawsuit in extremis https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/poland-avoids-new-eu-lawsuit-in-extremis/
Reuters, 24.09.18: EU sues Poland for undermining independence of courts https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/eu-executive-sues-poland-in-top-eu-court-for-undermining-independence-of-courts-idUSKCN1M412Q
Reuters, 19.10.18: EU court orders halt to Polish judicial overhaul; leader says to appeal https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-poland-eu-court-ecj/eu-court-orders-halt-to-polish-judicial-overhaul-leader-says-to-appeal-idUKKCN1MT29F
Politico, 18.09.18: Poland suspended from EU judicial organization https://www.politico.eu/article/poland-rule-of-law-suspended-from-eu-judicial-organization/

Official
European Commission: Press Release, 24.09.18: Rule of Law: European Commission refers Poland to the European Court of Justice to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-5830_en.htm
CJEU: Press Release, No.159, 2018 (19.10.18): Order of the Vice-President of the Court in Case C-619/18 R Commission v Poland https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_1394375/en/

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