The Rise and Fall of Judicial Self-Government in Poland: On Judicial Reform Reversing Democratic Transition

The Rise and Fall of Judicial Self-Government in Europe edited by David Kosař (Masaryk University)

German Law Journal, Issue 7/2018

22 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2018

See all articles by Anna Sledzinska-Simon

Anna Sledzinska-Simon

University of Wroclaw - Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics

Date Written: June 30, 2018

Abstract

This article argues that the establishment of the National Council of the Judiciary in 1989 and the empowerment of the general assemblies of judges in courts gave rise to the idea of judicial self-government in Poland. This very idea of self-government implying that judges hold important decision-making or veto powers on matters concerning the judiciary was regarded as a precondition of the separation of powers and judicial independence, none of which existed under Communist rule. Therefore, the package of laws introduced in 2017 marks the end of judicial self-government as we know it. Not only did it undermine the independence of the National Council of the Judiciary by altering the mode of election of its judicial members, but it also concentrated the power over the judiciary in the hands of the executive branch, allowing for, inter alia, the exchange of key positions in court administration and the reconstruction of the Supreme Court. This article examines the impact of this “reform” on such values as independence, accountability, and transparency. Investigating the role of judicial self-government in ensuring the principle of separation of powers and democracy, the article concludes with an assessment of the early consequences of the introduced changes for the Polish judiciary.

Keywords: Poland, Judiciary, Judicial Reform, Judicial Self-Government, Democratic Transition, Separation of Powers, Judicial Independence

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Sledzinska-Simon, Anna, The Rise and Fall of Judicial Self-Government in Poland: On Judicial Reform Reversing Democratic Transition (June 30, 2018). The Rise and Fall of Judicial Self-Government in Europe edited by David Kosař (Masaryk University) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3216482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3216482

Anna Sledzinska-Simon (Contact Author)

University of Wroclaw - Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics ( email )

Pl. Uniwersytecki 1 50-137
Wrocław
Poland

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