The Court of Justice of the European Union condemned Wednesday the Polish government to pay a fine of one million euros a day as long as it does not suspend the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court that the European justice had considered contrary to EU law in July.
“Compliance with the interim measures ordered on July 14, 2021 is necessary to avoid serious and irreparable damage to the legal order of the European Union and to the values on which this Union is based, in particular that of the rule of law,” the court stressed in a statement.
In the view of Brussels, subsequently endorsed by the EU court, the Polish disciplinary law undermines the independence of judges and does not provide the necessary guarantees to protect them from political control.
The disciplinary regime and the disciplinary chamber in which it applies allows judges to be subject to disciplinary investigations, proceedings and sanctions depending on the content of their judicial decisions, including the exercise of their right to refer questions for preliminary rulings to the EU Court of Justice.
Moreover, this disciplinary regime does not guarantee the independence and impartiality of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, which is composed solely of judges selected by the National Council of the Judiciary, which is appointed by the Polish Parliament.
The EU judiciary had found this regime to be contrary to EU law in July and Brussels requested the imposition of the fine in September, finding that Poland had not taken any steps to dismantle the controversial system. Although, at first, it seemed that Warsaw was willing to do so.
In its order on Wednesday, the European justice sentences Poland to pay one million euros per day from the date on which this judgment is notified to the Polish Executive and until it complies with what the court ordered it to do in July or until there is a final judgment on another complaint from Brussels to Warsaw for its judicial reform.