Hearing on Polish judges could deepen standoff with Europe

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01/19/2022

A top Polish court adjourned on Wednesday a sitting on whether a continent-wide human rights court had the power to question local judges’ legitimacy in a case that could deepen the nationalist government’s standoff with Europe. In power since 2015, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has clashed with European institutions over issues from judicial reforms and refugees to climate change and LGBT rights. Critics accuse the PiS of trampling on European democratic values and politicising courts via appointments and disciplinary processes to entrench power. But the government says changes are needed to improve efficiency and clean up the judiciary of remnants of the 1945-89 communist era. On Wednesday, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal heard parties in the case analysing the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights’ authority to influence its national court system.

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