EU court orders Poland to immediately suspend the laws on Supreme Court
The Court of Justice of the European Union in the final ruling has reaffirmed its decision to order Poland to suspend the laws on the Supreme Court regarding the retirement of the judges.
The European Court of Justice ruled on Monday that Poland must immediately suspend a new law that lowered the age of retirement of its Supreme Court judges, provisionally backing the European Commission in its battle with Warsaw.
The top court had already asked Poland in an interim judgment in October to halt the overhaul of its Supreme Court and to reinstate judges forced into early retirement. The court on Monday backed this ruling, saying the suspension of the Polish law was justified.
Backtracking in progress
Poland's ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) rushed a legislative amendment through parliament on Wednesday, November 21, reversing changes it had made at the Supreme Court that the European Union had condemned as undemocratic.
Since the changes were implemented, more than 20 Supreme Court judges - around one-third of the total, including the court's chief justice, Malgorzata Gersdorf - have been forced to quit. Under November's amendment, judges who were retired can return to work.
Head of the National Judiciary Council, Leszek Mazur confirmed that Gersdorf as the First President of the Supreme Court remains the Council's member and will be notified about its upcoming sessions.
Gersdorf is at the centre of a dispute over the rule of law in Poland, the largest ex-communist state in the EU, as she has defied PiS legislation to force her early retirement, insisting her constitutional term expires in 2020.
Since winning power in 2015, PiS has enjoyed strong public backing, despite criticism over its democratic record, benefiting from strong economic growth, generous welfare spending and nationalist rhetoric.
President Andrzej Duda has signed the amendment to the Supreme Court law that allows the judges who were sent to retirement after reaching 65 years of age to return to the court duties, informed the Deputy Chief of the President's Chancellery Paweł Mucha on Monday evening.
As Mucha announced, a more extensive communique in regard to president's decision should appear later on Monday or on Tuesday morning.