EU plans to fine Poland 2 million euros per day for judicial reform: report

According to press reports, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) plans to punish Poland with fines of up to €2 million a day over Poland’s judicial reforms.

According to “Rzeczpospolita”, the fines could be as harsh as €2 million per day unless Poland “freezes” the activity of the Supreme Court (SN) Disciplinary Chamber, which can discipline judges for judicial overreach and abuse.

Deputy Minister of Justice Michał Wójcik referred to the media reports which claimed that the ECJ plans to impose severe financial sanctions on Poland for its Disciplinary Chamber.

“There was no mention of penalties in the European Commission’s motion. If there were to be any, it would have to be two-staged. For there to be any sanctions, such a verdict must be carried out as well. Please remember that the verdict must be compliant with Polish law and the Polish constitution,” Wójcik said.

The minister said that the proposed judiciary changes are a proposal of “courts of peace”, which means improving the judicial situation in Poland.

He explained that the plan is to reduce the judiciary down to two levels but admitted that before it is decided which courts will be abolished, the project will be analyzed with PiS’s coalition partners.

Regarding whether structural changes in the judicial system will lead to the retirement of all judges and then re-hiring them, Wójcik simply stated, “All in good time.”

The minister criticized the current court structure, arguing that only in Poland are there different kinds of judges for different levels of courts, such as regional judges, district judges, appeal judges.

He added that there will also be a process of computerizing courts as part of the judiciary reform.

Minister Wójcik announced that the amendment to judiciary laws will be enacted on Feb. 14, 2020.

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