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POLAND: CJEU registers Supreme Court questions

Last week, the Supreme Court referred five questions for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and suspended the application of the provisions of the bill on the Supreme Court determining the rules for the retirement of judges of the Supreme Court. The CJEU has now officially accepted these questions and is expected to begin deliberations. It is, however unclear whether the CJEU will apply an expedited procedure, as per request of the Polish Supreme Court. If the standard procedure is chosen, a ruling may take as long as 13-15 months.  The CJEU is expected to announce procedural and technical details in the upcoming days.

If the CJEU issues a response implying that the Supreme Court bill is in contempt of EU law, it will not be a final ruling. However, it may form the basis for further actions of the Supreme Court, such as directing the disputed bill to the Constitutional Tribunal. It may also affect the ability of the Polish government to argue its case with the European Commission. If the Commission decides to forward its infringement procedure against Poland to the CJEU, it will be considered a separate case, however, the CJEU’s decision regarding the Supreme Court’s questions may form the basis of a future ruling.