Irregularities in appointing judges to disciplinary chamber: ECHR ruling

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on the Joanna Reczkowicz vs Poland case stating that it found “serious irregularities in the appointment of judges to the newly created Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court (SN) after the legislative reform”.

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According to the ECHR, in the case of Joanna Reczkowicz, a lawyer suspended for three years by the Disciplinary Chamber, the right to a court established by law was violated. Poland is to pay the complainant EUR 15,000 compensation.

“The judges of the European Court of Human Rights made a wrong meritorical assessment,” Michał Wójcik, a minister at the Office of the Prime Minister (KPRM) said, commenting on the judgment regarding the Disciplinary Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court case. According to him, this chamber was established in accordance with the Polish legal order.

The case decided by the ECHR concerns attorney Joanna Reczkowicz, who in July 2017 was suspended in her duties for three years due to various violations of the Legal Ethics code as a result of disciplinary proceedings. Her case was examined by the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court. In retaliation Ms Rzeczkowicz submitted a complaint to the ECHR.

The court ruled on Thursday that there had been a clear breach of domestic law in this case. According to the ECHR, the procedure for appointing judges to the Supreme Court was violated because it was entrusted to the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), “a body that did not have sufficient guarantees of independence from the legislative and executive powers”. In the opinion of the ECHR, the procedure for appointing judges “revealed an excessive influence of the legislative and executive authorities on the appointment of judges”.