EU top court fines Poland amid legal row

Brussels, Oct 28 (IANS): The top court of the European Union (EU) has fined Poland 1 million euros ($1.16 million) per day for ignoring a ruling of the bloc that called for the suspension of the country's Supreme Court disciplinary chamber.

The decision by the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ) is the latest episode of a clash between Poland and the EU institutions over the rule of law, reports Xinhua news agency.

The European Commission had requested the financial penalty until the Polish government acts to improve the functioning of the Polish Supreme Court and suspends new laws deemed to undermine judicial independence.

The bone of contention is the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, which has the power to discipline judges. Some Polish judges view the chamber as a tool to pressure judges to rule in favour of the governing authorities.

In July, the ECJ ordered the suspension of the disciplinary chamber as an interim measure until a final decision on the matter.

However, this was ignored, so the European Commission filed yet another application for financial penalties to be imposed on Poland.

In its decision, the ECJ's vice president said that the dismantling of the chamber of judges "is necessary to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the legal order of the European Union and, consequently, to the rights which individuals derive from EU law and the values on which the Union is founded, in particular, that of the rule of law".


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