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POLAND: Second CJEU hearing on KRS

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held a second hearing regarding the contested reforms of Poland’s National Judiciary Council (KRS). This comes after representatives of the KRS appealed to the Court due to insufficient time for preparation ahead of the hearing. In September 2018, the Supreme Court issued questions to the CJEU in order to assess whether a politically appointed KRS guarantees an independent judiciary. The CJEU rarely allows for second hearings to take place, but it made an exception after an appeal of KRS representatives. The second hearing postponed the opinion of the Advocate General of the CJEU, which was expected on the 23 May – it is now supposed to be presented on 27 June. Still, it remains uncertain what effect the  KRS’ refined arguments will have on the CJEU’s decision. In terms of political significance, the moved deadline has certainly calmed the ruling PiS party. Initially, commentators argued that the opinion date comes only three days prior to the European elections – potentially giving valuable momentum to the opposition if the verdict is unfavourable to PiS.