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Polish president OKs bill to scrap disputed disciplinary chamber for judges

14.06.2022 01:00
Poland’s president has signed into law a bill that removes a disputed disciplinary chamber for judges, a required step if the country is to benefit from EUR 35 billion in post-pandemic European Union funding.
Andrzej Duda.
Andrzej Duda. PAP/Abaca/Alex Nicodim

Andrzej Duda approved the legislation and sent it for publication in the Journal of Laws, officials said late on Monday.

The new law, which passed through parliament last week, replaces the controversial disciplinary chamber with a new chamber of professional accountability within Poland's Supreme Court, state news agency PAP reported.

It will take effect 30 days after publication.

Duda himself had submitted the bill to parliament, saying he wanted to streamline the functioning of his country's Supreme Court. 

The president has said he will be “very satisfied” if the new legislation has “the added effect” of unblocking the EU's post-pandemic cash for Poland.

The scrapping of the disciplinary chamber is significant for at least two reasons, according to officials.

Access to EU post-pandemic cash

First, Brussels said Poland must strike down the disciplinary chamber, among other commitments, to receive EUR 35.4 billion for post-pandemic recovery from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). 

Other “commitments on the independence of the judiciary” are changing the judicial disciplinary system and reinstating judges who have been suspended under existing regulations.

If Poland lives up to these commitments, it will receive EUR 23.9 billion in grants and EUR 11.5 billion in loans from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, officials have told reporters.

EU fine to be lifted?

Second, scrapping the disciplinary chamber could result in Brussels lifting a fine imposed on Poland, the PAP news agency reported.

Last year, the EU's top court fined Poland EUR 1 million a day for maintaining the disciplinary chamber for judges, which Brussels says undermines judicial independence.


Source: PAP, tvpparlament.pl