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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What is the Situation of Constitutional Jurisdiction in Europe? Worrying News from Spain

Although the situation in Poland is unique, the speed at which the Polish Constitutional Court has been subjugated should make the rest of us think about the regulations concerning our Constitutional jurisdictions and about the behaviour of other political actors with respect to them. Recent developments in Spain have led me to these reflections, and I would like to describe them briefly here to sound the alarm about what happens in other European countries more discretely than in Poland, but also very disturbingly.

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The Turkish Constitutional Court under the Amended Turkish Constitution

In March 2016, the Turkish Constitutional Court (TCC) ruled that the rights of the Turkish journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül had been violated, leading to their release from prison after three months. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded by criticizing the TCC sharply, questioning its existence and legitimacy. This had not been the first time over the last years, that the Court had been attacked. The constitutional amendments, that will be put to referendum in April 2017, seemed to be a golden opportunity to change the composition and cut back the broad competences of the TCC. Did the AKP-led Parliamentary Constitutional Committee seize this opportunity?

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Money Makes the Court Go Round: The Russian Constitutional Court’s Yukos Judgment

On 19 December 2017 the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) ruled that payment of just satisfaction in the Yukos case was contrary to the Russian Constitution. It is the first time the apex court of a Council of Europe member state concluded that it should not pay just satisfaction. This blog post provides the background of the case, sums up the reasoning of the RCC and assesses the implications of its judgment of 19 December 2017.

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Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal under PiS control descends into legal chaos

Immediately after the governing Law and Justice party in Poland established its control over the Constitutional Tribunal, the court has plunged into a whole number of legal imbroglios undermining its authority and calling into question the legality of its verdicts. The new President’s nomination is contested even by a supposed ally, and the remaining "old" judges seem to have adopted a strategy of passive resistance. This is probably what Law and Justice wanted to achieve: it is much easier to govern without a strong constitutional court.

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Statement by the former presidents of the Constitutional Tribunal: Marek Safjan, Jerzy Stępień, Bohdan Zdziennicki and Andrzej Zoll

Four former presidents of the beleaguered Polish Constitutional Tribunal have issued a powerful statement calling on the legal community and the President to defend the Court and, indeed, the constitutional order of the Republic.

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Enemies of the People?

"Enemies of the People": that is, according to the Daily Mail, what the High Court judges are. Joseph Stalin would have been wildly amused by this way of putting things… Leaving aside such 30s reminiscences, it seems to me too simple to reduce this phenomenon solely to the disgracefulness of the British boulevard press and Tory backbenchers. There is something more fundamental going on. Not only in the United Kingdom. But in the entire Western democratic constitutional space.

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Farewell to the Polish Constitutional Court

The Law of July, 7th 2016 on the Polish Constitutional Court leaves no doubts that the parliamentary majority lead by Law and Justice party (PiS) is not holding back and is determined to see its plan through to make sure that Court is finally tamed and incapacitated. The Law signals the death knell for the Court. The institution once recognized as powerful, efficient and independent from whatever powers that be is left at the mercy of the politicians, and unable to effectively wield its power of judicial review. Most importantly, the Law will make it impossible for the Court to provide an effective check on the excesses of parliamentary majority.

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Political Reductionism at its Best: the EU Institutions’ Response to the Brexit Referendum

In their reaction to the Brexit referendum, some EU institutions have shown a troubling understanding of law – law as the mere crystallisation of power relationships, norms as just technicalities, annoying obstacles standing between the political actors and their legitimate goals. This is profoundly wrong and dangerous.

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Für eine Verfassungskrise gibt es keine politische Lösung

Was Polen will, kann die EU-Kommission nicht akzeptieren, und umgekehrt. Nach Wochen des "konstruktiven Dialogs" (Kommissionsvize Frans Timmermans) gibt es immer noch überhaupt kein Zeichen des Aufeinanderzugehens. Ist das schlimm? Im Gegenteil.

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