Polish high court backs constitution tribunal in spat with government

The Supreme Court of Poland on Tuesday supported the nation's Constitutional Tribunal, which ruled several parts of a controversial legal reform are unconstitutional.

All judgments made by the tribunal about the government's reforms are valid and binding, the high court said in a legal note Tuesday.

Last month the Constitutional Tribunal said that several aspects of a new law - such as a two-thirds majority rule, a minimal requirement of 13 justices and a new rule that the court has to take cases in chronological order - intended to reform the Constitutional Tribunal are unconstitutional.

The Polish government introduced the reforms as part of its 2015 campaign platform of "repairing" damage wreaked by the former government.

Several opposition parties as well as legal experts appealed to the tribunal over the laws passed in December that opponents say weaken judicial independence.

Earlier in April, Poland's Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro threatened the justices of the Constitutional Tribunal with legal action if they continue to refuse to comply with the reforms passed by the government.

In March, experts for Europe's leading human rights watchdog - the Venice Commission - said that the legal reforms, if upheld, "would undermine democracy, human rights and the rule of law."

Last update: Tue, 26/04/2016 - 20:17

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