Foreign Minister: Supreme Court act might be amended

Supreme Court building in Warsaw. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Darwinek

“According to the first analyses, we might need to amend the judicial reform so that the judges who were forced to retire are reinstated to their former positions”, said Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz in the aftermath of the EU Court of Justice’s decision.

Last week, the CJEU suspended the implementation of some aspects of the government’s judicial reform. It ordered Poland to freeze any changes to the judicial appointment system and ordered the reinstatement of the judges who were forced to retire due to changes to the judicial retirement age.

Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said that in order to comply with the CJEU’s decision, amendments to the reform might be necessary. “According to the first analyses, we might need to amend the judicial reform for judges to be reinstated to their former positions. It will probably mean a return to their legal situation from before the reform.”

The Minister added that any reversal of the reform should not be overly troublesome as “these positions remained vacant following the judges retirement.” However, he considered it difficult to determine how much time would be needed to implement the CJEU’s measures. “It will need further analyses”, he said.

Changes to the new law will be made “by the decisions of the president, Justice Minister, parliament, and council of ministers”, the Minister added.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Małgorzata Gersdorf, who was forced to retire following the reform, returned to work today. She also asked all the judges in a similar situation to follow suit.

A Supreme Court spokesman said that the judges’ return is “a natural consequence of the CJEU’s decision, a decision which Poland must respect. Of course, it is possible that Poland later presents arguments which convince the CJEU and its decision will be reversed.”

The temporary measures ordered by the CJEU cannot be appealed and EU member states are obliged to accept them. They are not final, however, and over the course of the next several weeks a trial will take place in the CJEU. Poland and the European Commission will then present their respective arguments.