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POLAND: CJEU Advocate General on Supreme Court

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union has issued his opinion in regard to the disputed Supreme Court law. The contested provisions of the amendment bill have already been changed, however, the European Commission decided not to withdraw the case from the CJEU. The Advocate General considers that the contested measures violate the principle of irremovability of judges and the requirements of judicial independence. In the opinion of the Advocate General, the laws introduced by the Polish government jeopardise the requirements of effective judicial protection and are liable to expose the Supreme Court and its judges to external intervention and pressure. Though this opinion is not binding, it will form the basis for the court’s ruling – in practice, the CJEU is known not to contest these opinions. Still, the Polish government has already adhered to the recommendations of the European Commission and repealed the contested laws. The ruling of the CJEU will now conclude the matter of the Supreme Court bill. In practice, the ruling now carries political meaning – Poland has lost the dispute, and this will certainly have to be addressed by the government. Furthermore, the CJEU’s Advocate General is to provide an opinion in regard to the KRS law – it is expected to be published only days prior to the European elections. This is likely to shape the political debate in the last, crucial days of the campaign.