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Scottish judges support Polish counterparts over new controls
The Judicial Council for Scotland has added its voice to concerns expressed by other European judges over threats to the independence of their Polish counterparts.
Legislation currently before the Polish Parliament would have the effect of bringing the appointment and dismissal of judges under further Government control, providing for the possible dismissal of all presidents and vice-presidents of common courts and subsequent appointment of new presidents by the executive, along with the dismissal of a substantial number of judges of the Supreme Court. Regular attacks have also been made by the media on the Polish judiciary.
A statement issued by the Council, which represents all levels of the Scottish judiciary, said it had "followed with increasing concern reports of legislative developments in Poland which threaten to deprive the judiciary of independence from executive control".
Noting a statement issued on 26 April by the European Network of Judicial Councils, which highlighjts the situation, the Council said it "shares the grave concerns expressed in that statement, and also in the statement issued on 8 May by the Judges’ Council of England & Wales.
It added: “As a non-political body representing independent judges in Scotland, the Judicial Council for Scotland expresses its solidarity with the Polish judiciary and emphasises the vital importance of its continued independence. Without such independence, which guarantees the fair and impartial administration of justice, the trust among judiciaries which is necessary for mutual recognition and cooperation cannot continue to exist.”