Agreement for the rule of law – Restoration of the rule of law in Poland – propositions of NGOs

November 5th, 2021

We, citizens and organisations, which, for years, have been defending the right of Polish women and men to an independent court and upholding the rule of law in Poland, are presenting a list of actions, prepared in consultation with the judiciary and prosecution community (Iustitia, Themis and Lex Super Omnia), that are necessary to implement 13 judgments of the CJEU and ECtHR and many other judgments of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and the ordinary courts, as well as European recommendations.

The judgments of the courts, both Polish and European, clearly show that the judiciary has been illegally politicised and the Polish judiciary has been systemically deprived of independence, or in other words the authorities have taken over the courts and therefore control over us. The independence of the judiciary is a sine qua non condition of independent control of elections and the protection of the rights of individuals. The unnecessary and damaging conflict with the European Union’s institutions must be brought to an end. Poland is a member of the Union and the Union is the greatest guarantee of our safety.

In the current situation, we consider the most important actions to be (1) the immediate reinstatement of the illegally removed judges, Paweł Juszczyszyn and Igor Tuleya, (2) the liquidation of the Disciplinary Chamber and (3) the freezing of the ‘Muzzle Act’, in accordance with the CJEU interim measure of 14/07/2021 and the judgment of 15/07/2021, in order to avoid huge fines being paid from our taxes and to enable the acceptance of the National Reconstruction Plan.

However, this does not end the matter. The prerequisites for restoring the rule of law in Poland and for implementing the judgments in the cases that the authorities have lost in the European courts, as well as in the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and the ordinary courts, are the following:

  • the immediate amendment of the Act on the NCJ – the removal of the entire membership of the neo-NCJ and the appointment of a true National Council of the Judiciary – the guardian of the independence of the judiciary – which is compliant with the Constitution;
  • the removal of neo-judges from the positions to which they were defectively appointed or promoted on the motion of the neo-NCJ and the announcement of correct recruitments to fill the vacancies in the courts as soon as possible;
  • the upholding of the judgments of neo-judges, but with the right of citizens and all parties to the cases (in which neo-judges ruled) to have them overturned through the appropriate procedure;  
  • the loss of office of all neo-judges in the Supreme Court, not only because of the defective nature of the neo-NCJ, but also because of the gross breaches in the whole procedure, including the defective announcement of the recruitments themselves; the correct selection of the First President of the Supreme Court – from among the candidates specified in the resolution of the General Assembly of Supreme Court Judges;
  • the restoration of normal, independent disciplinary judiciary and the repeal of the ‘Muzzle Act’;
  • the change of the membership of the currently unlawful Constitutional Tribunal, by swearing in three judges who have been waiting since 2015 to take the oath of office; the correct election of the President of the Constitutional Tribunal – from among the candidates specified in the resolution of the General Assembly of Judges of the Constitutional Tribunal;
  • the abolition of the extraordinary complaint, which is used by the current governing authorities to overturn all politically inconvenient judgments by ‘their’ chamber of the Supreme Court (Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs) or to repress opponents;
  • the replacement of the presidents of the courts appointed by Zbigniew Ziobro in the so-called fax procedure; depoliticisation of the National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution;
  • the construction of an independent prosecution service from scratch; separation of the functions of Prosecutor General from the Minister of Justice;
  • the actual reform of the justice administration, streamlining the civil, criminal and administrative procedure, increasing access to the justice administration and the introduction of a modern system of legal support ex officio making the right to a court etc. realistic.

Therefore, we call on all political, pro-democratic and pro-European forces to meet with us, citizens, to discuss our propositions to repair the rule of law and develop methods and a schedule for their implementation, considering international standards and the scale and unprecedented destruction of the Polish judiciary by the rulers.

The opposition parties signed a joint commitment in 2019 to repair the Polish justice administration http://sprawiedliwosc.akcjademokracja.pl/. It is high time to start implementing them, all the more so that we will soon face further attempts to devastate the courts through the so-called ‘flattening’ of their structure, as well as the removal or political vetting of judges. We cannot and do not want to stand idly by and watch the implementation of these plans, which will only increase the huge legal chaos in Poland, completely destroy the independence of the courts and be a disaster for us all.

Akcja Demokracja [Democracy Campaign]
Komitet Obrony Demokracji [Committee for the Defence of Democracy]
Obywatele RP [Citizens of the Republic of Poland]
Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet [All-Poland Women’s Strike]
Inicjatywa #Wolne Sądy [#Free Courts Initiative]
Kongres Świeckości [Secular Congress]
Archiwum Osiatyńskiego [Osiatyński Archive]
Stowarzyszenie Adwokackie Defensor Iuris [Defensor Iuris Bar Association]

Agreement for the rule of law – Restoration of the rule of law in Poland – propositions of NGOs

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