Representatives of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights have met Diego Garcia-Sayan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers during his mission in Poland. The conversation was devoted to, among other things, the ongoing constitutional crisis and the independence of courts and judges in the light of proposed reforms of the justice system.

“The Helsinki Foundation has been monitoring the constitutional crisis from its beginning in 2015. The HFHR has many times emphasised that the fact that the persons elected for judicial posts at the Constitutional Tribunal without a valid legal basis have been allowed to hear cases weakens the Tribunal’s position and gives rise to serious concerns over the legality of its rulings.

The HFHR also notes the slower pace of the Tribunal’s work. Since the changes to the leadership of the Constitutional Tribunal were introduced at the end of 2016 and in early months of 2017, there has been a significant drop in the number of cases submitted to Poland’s constitutional court: in the period from 1 January to 30 June 2017, 47 cases were presented for the Tribunal’s consideration, as compared to 60 in the relevant period of 2016, and 153 and 66 in 2015 and 2014, respectively.”

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