Illiberal Consti­tutionalism at Work

Hungary’s and Poland’s responses to COVID-19 demonstrate how illiberal constitutionalism works in practice. In both countries, national constitutional or sub-constitutional emergency regimes provide the framework for government action. Different political and constitutional contexts, however, mean that their specific proceedings diverge.

Continue Reading →

Preparing for the Pandemic Elections

There is no doubt that the essential state institutions should function as effectively as possible in the times of pandemic. It also means finding concrete and fast solutions provided in special statutes, aiming at alleviating social and economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. However, even when proceeding the bill known as Anti-crisis Shield (“Tarcza antykryzysowa”) that provides a financial aid for healthcare system, companies and different kinds of workers in Poland, the governing PiS party managed to introduce unconstitutional amendments to the bill.

Continue Reading →

Die Unstrittigkeit des Zwecks

Wenn die Bedrohung, wie im Fall des Virus, als natürliche Gegebenheit auftritt, kommen leicht auch die Maßnahmen, um ihn zu beseitigen, als natürliche, d.h. fraglos vorgegebene Maßnahmen in Betracht. Eine Gefahr liegt hier darin, von einer Natürlichkeit des Zwecks auf die Natürlichkeit der Mittel zu schließen. Dass die Maßnahmen aber nicht natürlich gegeben, sondern politisch entschieden sind, muss demgegenüber im Blick bleiben.

Continue Reading →

The Court gives with one hand and takes away with the other

On March 26, the CJEU released a surprising – if not to say disappointing – judgment on the Polish system of disciplinary measures against judges. While the Court confirmed the ample material scope of Article 19(1)(2) TEU, it simultaneously restricted the procedural possibilities to remedy infringements via the preliminary reference procedure.

Continue Reading →

An Election in the Time of Pandemic

In Poland, the Law and Justice (PiS) government has opted not to use its constitutional power to declare a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 spreading. As Wojciech Sadurski explained, its motive is simple: not to postpone the Presidential election in Poland and thus increase the chances of the President-in-Office to win the second term. The question is whether the pandemic may cause invalidity of the election. If the answer is yes, as I suggest, the problem is who should be the judge of it. The chamber of the Polish Supreme Court that is empowered by law to do so does not give an ‘appearance of independence’, following the PiS’s so-called ‘reform’ of the judiciary.

Continue Reading →

The Polish Presidential Campaign in the Shadow of the Pandemic

Various types of states of emergency have been, and in all likelihood will be, introduced or at least contemplated in different states of the world to cope with the COVID 19 crisis. Nowhere is this issue more lively than in Poland which is currently in the midst of the presidential election campaign – or rather “a sort of” election campaign of a somewhat bizarre character. It is a one-man campaign, leading up to the election which, by all standards, should not take place in a scheduled time. Except that the incumbent and his party seem not to notice it.

Continue Reading →

Open Letter to the President of the European Commission regarding Poland’s “Muzzle Law”

The current procrastination is akin to dereliction of duty: Waiting to bring infringement actions and to fail to simultaneously seek interim measures when the rule of law in a Member State is so obviously and blatantly deteriorating on an industrial scale only means that the Commission faces a far more serious and intractable problem to deal with later.

Continue Reading →

Muzzling Associations of Judges

Art 88 a of Poland’s so-called "muzzle law" law prescribes that judges must disclose their membership in associations, their functions performed in non-profit foundations and membership in parties before they became judges. The provision applies to memberships in all kinds of associations, including associations of judges. In this form, the provision violates the European Convention of Human Rights as well as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Continue Reading →

For Norway it’s Official: The Rule of Law is No More in Poland

The so-called “muzzle law”, adopted by the Polish parliament on January 23, was the last straw. On Thursday 27 February, the board of the Norwegian Court Administration decided to withdraw from its planned cooperation with Poland under the justice programme of the EEA and Norway Grants, due to concerns over the Polish justice reforms.

Continue Reading →