Turning the Lights Off

On 14 June the Bulgarian minister of justice finally took the step to present to the public its long-awaited draft of the new accountability mechanism intended to ensure independent investigation for to the top three Bulgarian magistrates. The draft legislation proves that the concerns regarding the consequences for Bugaria’s judicial independence were entirely justified.

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France Criminalises Research on Judges

In March, France made a controversial move and became the first country in the world to explicitly ban research on individual judicial behaviour. It is now a criminal offence to ‘evaluate, analyse, compare or predict’ the behaviour of individual judges. The result is a flagrant violation of the freedom of expression, represents an affront to basic values of academic freedom, and disregards basic principles of the rule of law.

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CVM Here, CVM There: The European Commission in Bulgaria’s Legal Wonderland

On 13 June 2019, Bulgaria’s Minister of Justice Danail Kirilov declared that he would resign unless the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to which Bulgaria was subjected was lifted before the end of the Juncker Commission’s term. This statement comes in the middle of a highly controversial reform proposed by Kirilov. The reform is one of the key arguments Bulgaria intends to use to persuade the European Commission that the CVM should be terminated this year.

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This is how Bulgarian Judicial Independence Ends…Not with a Bang but a Whimper

Bulgaria notoriously ranks at the bottom of all judicial independence and corruption indexes in the EU, even lagging far behind Member States such as Hungary and Poland. Under the guise of implementing EU recommendations and the case-law of the European of Human Rights, a reform proposal by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Justice is about to threaten Bulgaria’s judicial independence even further.

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Commission v. Poland – A Stepping Stone Towards a Strong “Union of Values”?

Commission v. Poland gives the Court not only the opportunity to put ASJP into practice but also to clarify the doctrinal framework for finally addressing the developments in “backsliding” Member States under EU law. This contribution will shed some light on these two uncertainties, suggest ways of how the Court could resolve them and explore the potential repercussions for the EU legal order.

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The legal vs. political route to rule of law enforcement

The outcome of C-619/18 Commission v Poland will affect the current rule of law discourse on three grounds: First, it might exert pressure on the Council to finally act in respect of the Art. 7(1) TEU procedure against Poland. Secondly, the prospect of pecuniary sanctions in light of an Art. 260 TFEU procedure would create an incentive for Poland to (partially) redress the situation. And lastly, the effective functioning of the preliminary ruling procedure could be endangered.

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How to Address Rule of Law Backsliding in Romania

In this post, we will first summarise the situation in Romania before examining Frans Timmermans’ reaction to the latest evidence of rule of law backsliding there. This post concludes with a possible solution considering the diagnosis offered below: an infringement action based on Article 325 TFEU.

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The first judgment of the ECJ regarding a breach of the rule of law in Poland?

While the judgment in C-619/18 Commission v. Poland is unlikely to deliver a surprise as to the assessment of the Polish ‘reforms’, interesting issues are emerging in relation to the effects of the judgment for the Polish authorities. This piece starts from a brief discussion why the case seems lost for Poland, proceeding then to analysis whether and how the judgment should be implemented.

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Age is the limit? Background of the CJEU case C-619/18 Commission v Poland

Next month the Court of Justice of the European Union will make a decision that is likely going to feature in the future textbooks on European Union law. In the case C-618/19 Commission v Poland, the Court will tackle the topic of judicial independence and the question of whether the standards of the rule of law were violated by the Polish government and parliament and thus address a critical element of European Union’s legal system.

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