Poland: Judicial Independence Substantially Compromised

By Anastasiia Andreeva Nov. 3, 2021 Weekly Graphs

On October 7th, the Polish constitutional court declared the principle of Primacy of European Union law to be incompatible with the Constitution of Poland. This could be a major step towards a “legal Polexit”Poland has autocratized significantly since the far-right ruling party – Law and Justice (PiS) – won the 2015 Presidential elections. There are many reports of assaults on the judiciary, media freedom, and civil rights.

Today’s Graph of the Week illustrates what V-Dem data shows regarding undermining of the judiciary in Poland. The court packing variable reflects that politically motivated appointments of judges have become increasingly common since 2014. Judicial purges – the removal of judges due to political reasons – have also gained momentum. The judicial constraints on the executive index, which reflects the extent to which the executive respects the constitution and the judiciary is able to act independently, has declined in recent years. The data show a substantial decrease in judicial independence in Poland since 2015.

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