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Polish lawmakers approve bill to scrap disputed disciplinary chamber for judges

26.05.2022 22:30
The lower house of Poland’s parliament on Thursday passed draft legislation to scrap a disputed disciplinary chamber for judges, a major bone of contention with the European Union.
Polands lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a bill to disband a disputed disciplinary chamber within the countrys Supreme Court.
Poland’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a bill to disband a disputed disciplinary chamber within the country's Supreme Court.Twitter/Polish Sejm

The bill, which had been submitted by President Andrzej Duda, passed the lower house by a 231 to 208 margin, with 13 MPs abstaining, state news agency PAP reported. 

Under the draft legislation, the disciplinary chamber within the country's Supreme Court would be dismantled and replaced by a new Chamber of Professional Responsibility.

Moreover, judges would be subject to “a test of impartiality and independence” to ensure that “every citizen has recourse to an impartial and independent court,” the president has said. 

The bill now heads to the upper chamber, the Senate, for further deliberation.

Row with EU over disciplinary rules for judges 

The contested disciplinary chamber, part of a broader system for disciplining judges, was a key point of dispute with the EU.

As a result of the row, Poland has been denied access to EUR 36 billion in the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery funds.   

The EU’s executive argued that the disciplinary chamber was a politicised body designed to penalise judges who opposed the government’s judicial changes.

The bloc’s top court ruled that the chamber must be disbanded. It last October fined Poland EUR 1 million a day for maintaining the unit.

Earlier this month, Brussels announced that Poland’s dues had exceeded EUR 160 million. 

What's next?

If the new bill becomes law and the disciplinary chamber is disbanded, Poland will have taken a step closer to solving the row with the EU and accessing the bloc's post-pandemic recovery funds, news agencies reported.


Source: PAPpolsatnews.pl