POSTS BY Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz

Farewell to the Separation of Powers – On the Judicial Purge and the Capture in the Heart of Europe

After the cautious and carefully prepared dismantling of the Polish Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court’s independence was now swept away in the twinkling of an eye. Late at night on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, a draft law virtually constituting an overnight demolition of the Supreme Court was proposed. This amendment heralds the death knell for the rule of law in Poland.

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On the Separation of Powers and Judicial Self-Defence at times of unconstitutional capture

"It is the institutions that help us preserve decency. They need our help as well. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning. So choose an institution you care about – a court, a newspaper, a law, a labor union – and take its side."

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In Judges We Trust? A long overdue Paradigm Shift within the Polish Judiciary (Part I)

The Polish Judiciary is under duress, no question. However, it is not only the pending Supreme Court decision that may determine their fate. Polish judges need a new approach to judicial interpretation and the role of judges as a whole.

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Living under the unconstitutional capture and hoping for the constitutional recapture

After the unconstitutional capture of the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland, ordinary courts will have to step in to provide constitutional review. Polish judges are faced with the most fundamental challenge since 1989. Are they ready to be constitutional judges in times of constitutional emergency?

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Constitutional Capture in Poland 2016 and Beyond: What is Next?

2016 will go down in history as fundamental in the institutional history of Polish Constitutionalism. It began with an unprecedented attack on the Constitutional Tribunal, rule of law, checks and balances and judicial independence. It ends with full-blown constitutional crisis. The dramatic events in the Sejm and on the streets only corroborate that Poland is on the slippery slope towards autocracy.

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Constitutional justice in Handcuffs? Gloves are off in the Polish Constitutional Conflict

A high-ranking PiS politician has announced that those Constitutional Tribunal judges who will not bend to the will of the PiS majority will be removed from office. This marks a new step of escalation in the ongoing constitutional crisis in Poland.

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Polish Constitutional Tribunal goes down with dignity

On 11 of August 2016 the Polish Constitutional Tribunal (“Tribunal”) decided case K 39/16 in which it disqualified, for the second time in the span of 5 months, court-packing provisions contained in the Law of 22 July, 2016 on the Constitutional Tribunal. Separation of powers, judicial independence and effective functioning of the constitutional court were again the keywords that informed the analysis. After this most recent case the clock is ticking on the Tribunal and this time the self-defense by way of courageous judicial pronouncements might not be enough to survive.

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Statutory tinkering: on the Senate’s changes to the Law on the Polish Constitutional Tribunal

The infamous law on the Polish Constitutional Tribunal of July 7th has met with an outcry of criticism among constitutional scholars. Last week, the upper chamber of the Polish Parliament, the Senate, has introduced a number of changes to meet some of the concerns. On the whole the effort amounts to little more than statutory tinkering, though. The effect, the emasculation of constitutional control in Poland, remains unchanged.

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