The Irish legal professions are united in concern regarding developments in Poland.
- Law Society of Ireland and The Bar of Ireland have jointly written to the Taoiseach to express concerns.
- Threat to the autonomy and independence of courts is a serious EU problem, not just an internal Polish problem.
- Developments breach the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
The President of the Law Society of Ireland and Chairman, Council of The Bar of Ireland have jointly written to the Taoiseach expressing the concerns of lawyers in Ireland and across Europe at proposed legislative changes which seriously threaten the independence of the judiciary in the Republic of Poland.
The letter, sent late Friday afternoon, outlined the crucial implications to the integrity of the legal framework of the EU, with its implications for Ireland.
“This threat to the autonomy and independence of courts is not only an internal problem of Poland. It has consequences for the international legal community as well and affects directly the application of European Union law,” said Mr Paul McGarry SC, Chairman, Council of The Bar of Ireland.
“The right of access to an independent court is one of the primary elements underpinning legal systems of states. It is guaranteed by Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.”
The letter was accompanied by a copy of a letter sent from the President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), Ruthven Gemmell, to the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, on 18 July 2017. That letter expressed, in detail, the concerning nature of developments and breaches of the natural rule of law.
“We have read reports of the concerning developments in Poland over recent months - including restrictions on the news media, public gatherings and activities of non-government organisations. Now these new developments strike at the very heart of a modern democracy and have widespread implications for the whole of Europe,” said Mr Stuart Gilhooly, President of the Law Society of Ireland.
“The independence of a national judicial system is fundamental to the ability for citizens to uphold their rights, and to keep the other branches of government to account.”
“We are calling upon the Taoiseach and the members of the Irish Government to exert pressure with their Polish counterparts to stop this draft legislation which threatens democracy and the rule of law in a major EU member state.”
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