Statement of the Council of the Benchers of the Supreme Court of Poland-Regarding judicial independence and impeccable character of Judges (14/10/2022)

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Statement of the Council of the Benchers of the Supreme Court
No 1/2022 of 14 October 2022

Regarding judicial independence and impeccable character of Supreme Court benchers

The Council of the Benchers of the Supreme Court, pursuant to § 10(1) of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Poland of 29 March 2018 on the manner of selection, composition, organisational structure, mode of operation and detailed tasks of the Council of Benchers of the Supreme Court, has decided to voice its opinion on the independence in adjudication and impeccability of character of the Supreme Court benchers.

§ 1.

The right and duty of Supreme Court Benchers to fulfil the requirement of independence in adjudication stems directly from Article 67(1) of the Supreme Court Act (hereinafter: SC Act) in conjunction with Article 178 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland (hereinafter: Constitution). Compliance with the requirement of real independence is a condition for the benchers to adjudicate in the Supreme Court and thus the foundation of the citizens’ right to a fair trial, as provided for in Article 45(1) of the Constitution and Article 6(1) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

§ 2.

The independence of the Supreme Court Benchers is safeguarded by laws that specify both the procedures to prevent external factors from influencing the bencher’s adjudicatory position, as well as those that require the Supreme Court benchers of:

• impeccability of character (Article 59(3)(2) of the SC Act);
• and objectivity:
– in ethical dimension, in accordance with the rules of ethical conduct of judges, codified in the Collection of Rules of Professional Ethics for Judges and Court Assessors, applicable respectively to Supreme Court benchers (vide Resolution No. 1/2019 of the Council of the Benchers of the Supreme Court of 27 September 2019),
– as well as in social dimension, due to lack of membership of a political party and failure to cooperate with organs of repression (Article 60(14) and (15) of the SC Act).

§ 3.

Meeting the public expectation of Supreme Court Benchers with regard to adjudicatory independence, objectivity and impeccability of character is the basis for the participation of the representatives of the Sovereign in the administration of justice, as provided for in Article 182 of the Constitution. Thus, any infringements, not to mention violations, in terms of adjudicatory independence, objectivity and impeccability of character are a permanent impediment to serving as a Supreme Court Bencher.

§ 4.

The Council of the Benchers of the Supreme Court expresses its concern about media reports, which were published before and after the election of candidates for Supreme Court benchers for the second term, concerning the negative assessment of character qualities of some candidates, which put into question their objectivity and impeccability of character.

Chairman of the Council of the Benchers of the Supreme Court
Aleksander Popończyk

Five members of the Council of the Benchers of the Supreme Court attended the ballot.
Agata Pawlak
Agnieszka Kaczmarek
Aleksander Popończyk
Magdalena Wiszniewska
Jarosław Wołodkiewicz

The statement was adopted by acclamation.


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