Strengthening the Role of the Minister of Justice in the New Statutes Concerning Courts in Poland

In 2017, three laws concerning the status of the judiciary in Poland were passed: a new law on the Supreme Court and laws amending acts on the National Council of the Judiciary and on the organisation of common courts. However, a number of their provisions evidently violate the constitution and have been highly criticised by prominent legal scholars. The legislative and executive powers have obtained many instruments with which they might interfere with the autonomy of the judiciary. In this presentation, I will examine new controversial competences of the Minister of Justice. They include, i.a. the power to appoint presidents of courts without any opinions of judicial bodies, the power to discretionally dismiss them in an interim period specified in the statute, and the new significant powers in judicial disciplinary proceedings. These competences, along with those that already existed, constitute a serious danger for the independent system of the dispensation of justice in Poland.