European Court of Justice takes a step back on Poland: expert

Prof. Tomasz Grosse interviewed by PolandIN says that the decision of the ECJ to ask the Polish Supreme court to judge itself whether its Disciplinary Chamber is independent, means a change of course on Poland.

Prof. Tomasz Grosse, a social scientist from Warsaw University who specialises in European affairs told Poland IN that the verdict of the European Court of Justice which asked the Polish Supreme Court to judge itself on whether the newly appointed Disciplinary Chamber, violated the principle of the independence of the judiciary.

The ruling came as a result of a request from the Supreme Court itself which asked the ECJ to rule on whether a chamber selected by the National Judicial Council that was newly elected by Parliament was truly independent of the government.

According to prof. Grosse the ECJ threw the ball back to the Supreme Court. For him this signified “an attempt to de-escalate conflict with the Polish authorities” over judicial reform.

The academic felt this would be tricky for the Supreme Court itself as it would have to act as judge and jury on its own internal workings. It was also tricky from the constitutional standpoint. This is because the Polish constitution makes the constitutional court and not the supreme Court responsible for adjudicating on any constitutional dispute.

Prof. Grosse believes that the Polish judicial reforms are not different from the solutions adopted in many EU states. He agreed that it was not even handed of the European Commission to single Poland out over these reforms, especially when EU institutions themselves were sometimes non-compliant with EU law. Finally, he felt that there was a tendency for European courts and institutions to attempt to extend their powers over and beyond the provision in EU treaties. In this way internal member states matters were increasingly becoming internationalised.

Click here to watch the full interview.