Disciplinary Chamber is not a legal court: Supreme Court

The Supreme court Labor Law Chamber have ruled that the appointed Disciplinary Chamber and National Council of Judiciary (KRS) are not a court according to EU or domestic law. This stand was strongly opposed by the KRS Head judge Leszek Mazur.

In the justification of the judgment of the Supreme Court, judge Bohdan Bieniek pointed out that the National Council of the Judiciary did not provide sufficient guarantees of independence from legislative and executive authorities, and this is the starting point for assessing whether the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber is independent.

"It can be seen that people who are strongly associated with the legislative or executive authority have been selected for the new Disciplinary Chamber. Such a court can really only be created during a war, which results directly from the provisions of the constitution "- emphasized Judge Bieniek.

KRS response to the ruling

The ruling and its justification was strongly opposed by the head of the National Council of the Judiciary judge Leszek Mazur.

“This ruling will have no real consequences. In no way does it undermine the status of judges appointed by the KRS or the Disciplinary Chamber judges,” said the head of the new National Council of the Judiciary Leszek Mazur.

“This ruling was issued in a specific individual case, which is limited to the assessment of one opinion of the National Council of the Judiciary from July 2018, and does not cover the issue of the status of judges,” said Judge Mazur.

What's next?

The new status of the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS) and the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court may cause chaos in the activities of the judiciary on a gigantic scale. Firstly, because of the problem with KRS key competences for nominating new judges. The other problem is that the Supreme Court will lose its competence to investigate judges that break the law.

The situation may lead to the creation of two legal systems based on judges opinion on the legal character of KRS and the Disciplinary Chamber. As spokesman of the Supreme Court, Michał Laskowski noted that the judgment applies to all courts in the country.

"The courts will probably take this into account, judges will ask further questions - this time to the Supreme Court - or issue judgments on their own. This is a condition that may result in us having different, competitive judgments issued by different bodies, different positions. All this does not serve the state,"emphasised Judge Laskowski.

The case in which the Labor Chamber decided to refer to the CJEU concerned the appeal of one of the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court against the resolution of the National Council of the Judiciary from July 2018 regarding the further position of that judge in the Supreme Administrative Court.