Contested Court Forces Removal of the Polish Ombudsperson

Rule of Law’s Magic Potion Is About to Run Out

29 April 2021

In Poland, the heavily contested Constitutional Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for Ombudsperson Adam Bodnar to remain in office after the end of his term, despite the fact that the same Constitution indicates among its principles the continuity of authorities and bodies of the state. With Bodnar leaving the stage and no independent successor for the office in sight, Polish citizens have few alternatives left for legal help, support and intervention concerning their human rights.

In a previous text, I wrote that the Polish Ombudsperson’s office was like the village of the Gauls in the Asterix cartoons. The entirety of Gaul was to be conquered – just like the rule of law order and the Polish judiciary. The only place that resisted the Romans from the ruling party was the Office of the Ombudsperson. Until then.

We are sipping from the last bottle and are just about to run out of magical potion.

The trial

The almost fully government-controlled Constitutional Court needed two days of hearings and a third to deliver its verdict to deal with the ‘last fuse’ of the rule of law protection system in Poland, Adam Bodnar.

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Jarosław Gwizdak

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Former judge and Court President in Katowice. He currently works as a teacher, columnist and activist. He was the first person awarded the „Civic Judge of the Year” prize.

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