Poland Ordered by EU to Suspend Judges’ Disciplinary Regime

Poland was ordered by the European Union’s top court to “immediately suspend” national rules governing its controversial disciplinary regime for judges in the latest round of a simmering dispute over the rule of law and democratic standards in the bloc’s biggest eastern state.

The EU Court of Justice issued the emergency order on Wednesday, following a challenge filed by the European Commission in April over sweeping judicial reforms that opponents say are aimed at punishing Polish judges who are critical of the ruling Law & Justice party.

The EU already sued Poland in 2019 over concerns the measures wouldn’t protect judges from political control. The government has so far failed to comply with a first emergency order by the EU court in 2020 to “immediately suspend” the judicial overhaul.

In an unprecedented move that further escalates the standoff, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal also ruled on Wednesday that interim orders by the EU court, regarding issues such as changes to the judicial system, are at odds with the nation’s constitution.

The decision casts doubt on Poland’s ability to abide by EU rules and respect the decisions of its courts, as the country pledged to do before joining the club in 2004.

The Warsaw-based constitutional court is set to rule as soon as tomorrow on whether EU law takes precedence over the country’s constitution, potentially upending one of the bloc’s legal foundations.

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