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Court gives notification to Poland of case concerning judicial reform

Human rights judges have asked Poland to “submit observations” on a complaint to the European court concerning judicial reform.

Today, the European Court of Human Rights confirmed that on 9 July 2019 it had informed the Government of Poland of the application Grzęda v. Poland (application no. 43572/18), and requested its observations.

The applicant, Jan Grzęda, is a Polish national, who was born in 1956 and lives in Piła (Poland). He is a judge of the Supreme Administrative Court, and in January 2016 was elected for a four-year term as a member of the National Council of the Judiciary (the NCJ), a constitutional organ which safeguards the independence of courts and judges.

However, his mandate as a member of the NCJ was ended prematurely in 2018, following the entry into force of new legislation in the context of wide-scale judicial reform.

In particular, the Act Amending the Act on the NCJ of 2017 (“the 2017 Amending Act”) provided that judicial members of the NCJ would no longer be elected by judges but by the Sejm (the lower house of the Parliament), and that the newly elected members would immediately replace those elected under the previous legislation.

When the Sejm elected 15 judges as new members of the NCJ on 6 March 2018, the applicant’s mandate was terminated. He did not receive any official notification.

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