The average duration of court proceedings shortened year on year in 2022, the justice minister said on Sunday, adding that this had happened despite “extremely unfavourable conditions.”
According to Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, these positive trends in the administration of justice have resulted from the digital revolution in courts.
Ziobro told reporters that these positive changes were visible despite “extremely unfavourable conditions, namely, work-to-rule applied by some judges, …barriers built by the European Commission as well as obstacles put in our path by the opposition.”
“The statistical data make it possible to draw a conclusion that the average length of court proceedings was shorter in 2022 than in 2021,” the justice minister continued, adding that, in 2022, Polish courts concluded nearly half a million cases more than in 2021.
According to Ziobro, the performance of courts during the Civic Platform-Polish People’s Party (PO-PSL) government was much poorer.
“When Donald Tusk had been holding power, even though there was no Covid pandemic, court proceedings were longer,” he said, adding that no improvement was visible after eight years of the PO-PSL government.
Ziobro clashed with the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, on a number of occasions, accusing Morawiecki of being too soft in his relations with Brussels. But Morawiecki hit back, saying Ziobro’s reforms had not materially improved the actual situation in courts despite him being the justice minister for seven years.
On February 10, Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, sent a key bill reforming the disciplinary regime for judges, known as the Supreme Court bill, to the Constitutional Tribunal for evaluation before signing it into law.
Passed by the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, on January 13, the new law was expected to satisfy one of the conditions, or milestones, set by the EC, that Poland needs to meet if it wants to gain access to a post-pandemic recovery fund, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, from which the country is due to receive EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in inexpensive loans.
The government promoted the reform in order to unlock the EU funding but Sovereign Poland had opposed any leniency in the conflict with Brussels.
The Polish Constitutional Tribunal postponed until September 7 a sitting seen as key to bringing Poland closer to finally receiving EU post-pandemic money within the framework of its national recovery plan (KPO).
Poland will hold a parliamentary election on October 15. The conservative PiS party has been in power for two four-year terms.