As Polish judges, we are also EU judges, just as citizens of Poland are also citizens of the European Union, which gives them the ability to freely travel and take up work throughout Europe. Such a system operates on the principle of communicating vessels. An area without internal borders can only be created and maintained if a similar, high level of protection of civil rights and freedoms guaranteed by an independent and apolitical judiciary is ensured in all countries of that area. By drastically lowering its standards in this area, sooner or later, Poland will find itself outside the European Union.
Therefore, it is with great concern that we noted the motion of the Minister of Justice filed on 05/10/2018 referring the examination of the compliance of Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with the Polish Constitution to the Constitutional Tribunal. In the light of this motion, the stakes are not only the recognition of Polish court judgments by the authorities of other states. By questioning the effectiveness of the case law of the Tribunal in Luxembourg against Poland, the Minister of Justice is questioning the essence of Poland’s membership of the European Union. An act of this kind is a clear step towards Polexit, because it is impossible to remain in the European community if one of the fundamental values on which it is based, namely the independence and apoliticality of the justice system, is being questioned.
As judges, we are not authorized to assess the political, social and economic consequences of Poland’s possible exit from the European Union. However, we simultaneously feel obliged to inform the public that the consequence of such an act will be Poland’s departure from the circle of Europe’s legal culture. This will mean a further and significant reduction in the level of protection of civil rights and freedoms in Poland, which is currently guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as other acts of primary and secondary law of the European Union.
We obligate the President of the Court of Appeal in Kraków to post this resolution on the Court’s website and to forward it to the President of the Republic of Poland, the Minister of Justice, the Chairperson of the National Council of the Judiciary, the First President of the Supreme Court and the Presidents of the Appellate and Regional Courts. We simultaneously authorize the associations of judges to publicize the content of this resolution by sending it to the entities mentioned above, and to translate the resolution into English, and then send the translations to foreign organizations, institutions, foundations, associations dealing with the monitoring of the rule of law and the protection of the independence of the courts and the impartiality of the judges, in particular: the National Councils of the Judiciary of the European States, the Court in Strasbourg, the Court in Luxemburg, the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE), the European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ), the Judges for Judges Foundation, the American Bar Association (ABA), the Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law), the Association of European Judges for Democracy and liberty (MEDEL, the European association of judges and public prosecutors), the European Association of Judges (EAJ), the International Association of Judges (IAJ), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ), The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), to Mr. Nils Muizhneks – Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Diego Garcia Sayan – Special United Nations Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Amnesty International, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the European Law Institute (ELI), Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI Institute) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).