A Refutation of Claims

A Czech Perspective on Poland’s Disagreement with the EU over the Rule of Law

17 February 2020

Czech courts are regulated in way that guarantees independence of the Czech judiciary while plans for the new Polish regime will put such guarantees at risk.

Reading the judiciary crisis through the lens of the Polish government, one may wonder why Brussels has decided to interfere with the functioning of the Polish judicial system. Although member states are primarily concerned with how they organise their courts and the judiciary, the European Union (EU) acts as a guardian over the functioning of the rule of law.

Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency

Indeed, member states can decide their own model for a justice system, however, they should do so in a way that ensures the respect the rule of law. This requires them to safeguard the independence of the judiciary, separation of powers and legal certainty.

A breach of the rule of law in one member state has an effect on all member states and the Union as a whole. The concept of a European democracy comprises the independence of the judiciary as a value, which means it should be free from undue political interference. An independent judiciary, together with the media and civil society, act as fundamental safeguards for the functioning of liberal democracy. That is why politicians with more authoritarian tendencies either try to limit these institutions or to subordinate them to their influence.

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Michaela Tejmlová

Mgr. Michaela Tejmlová LL.M. is a Czech lawyer specialised in EU law and working for Your Europe Advice (free legal advice on EU law for citizens and business). This article was written outside the scope of the service.

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