EU Judicial Independence Dencentralized: A.K. Joined Cases C-585/18, C-624/18 and C-625/18, A.K. and others v. Sąd Najwyższy (the independence of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court), Judgment of the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) of 19 November 2019, EU:C:2019:982

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  • COLA2020717

    Final published version, 565 KB, PDF document

  • Michal Krajewski
  • Michał Ziółkowski
The judgment in A.K. and others v. Sad Najwyższy was eagerly awaited as another red line for the EU rule of law. It provided a test for assessing the independence of national courts in their capacity as EU courts. In contrast to a bold stance by the Advocate General, the ECJ demonstrated sensible self-restraint. It did not prescribe ready-made institutional solutions aimed at securing judicial independence. It thus avoided the risk of a judge-made harmonization of domestic judicial organization based on scant and indeterminate Treaty provisions on the matter. Under the ECJ’s test, the referring court was to weigh and compare the relevance of legal and factual circumstances that enhance or impair the public appearance of independence of the brand new Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber. At the same time, the ECJ shouldered the referring court with a difficult task to make a discretionary assessment of the anti-constitutional legislation altering the judicial organization in Poland – the task that the Supreme Court’s extended formation subsequently delegated to the rank-and-file judges of lower courts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommon Market Law Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1107-1138
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Law - Court of Justice of the European Union, Judicial independence, Judicial appointment, Poland, Supreme court, Judicial review

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