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President refers bill on court reform to Constitutional Tribunal

In a special broadcast statement, President of Poland Andrzej Duda said he came to the decision of sending a critical bill reforming the disciplinary regime for judges, to the Constitutional Tribunal (TK) for an evaluation before signing it into law.

President Andrzej Duda explained that in consequence, the law will not come into force until the Tribunal rules on its full compliance with the Polish constitution.

On January 13, the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, passed an amendment to the law on the Supreme Court. According to MPs of the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, the authors of the legislation, the amendment proposes that the top administrative court shall deal with all disciplinary delicts concerning judges instead of the Supreme Court’s Chamber of Professional Responsibility, which was described as a “politicized” body by the European Commission (EC).

Prezydent @AndrzejDuda: Nie zdecydowałem się na zawetowanie nowelizacji ustawy o Sądzie Najwyższym, którą w ostatnich dniach uchwalił polski parlament. Podjąłem decyzję o skierowaniu tej ustawy do Trybunału Konstytucyjnego w trybie kontroli prewencyjnej.

— Kancelaria Prezydenta (@prezydentpl) February 10, 2023
The ruling coalition United Right government hopes that such a move, being a result of the requests made by the European Commission, will result in admitting, and releasing, Poland the money due from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. Poland should be receiving EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in inexpensive loans to boost its economy affected by post-Covid problems and the consequences of the Russian aggression on Ukraine.

“This compromise is necessary both for Poland and the European Union,” President Duda said.

“But speaking honestly, that agreement raises serious controversies of a constitutional nature,” the President added.

The President also said that his role in the political system is to serve as the guardian of the constitution and to take care of citizens’ rights, which he said may be affected by the bill’s provisions.

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