Judgment concerning Poland

Judges' hammer

In the case of Pająk and Others v. Poland, the Court held that there had been a violation of the right of access to a court in respect of all applicants, and a violation of the prohibition of discrimination taken in conjunction with the right to respect for private life in respect of the three applicants who had lodged complaints under those provisions.

The case concerned four judges who complained about legislative amendments that had lowered the retirement age for judges from 67 to 60 for women, and to 65 for men, and had made the continuation of a judge’s duties after reaching retirement age conditional upon authorisation by the Minister of Justice and by the National Council of the Judiciary (“the NCJ”).

The Court found that the decisions taken in respect of each applicant by the Minister of Justice and by the NCJ had constituted arbitrary and unlawful interference, in the sphere of judicial independence and protection from removal from judicial office, on the part of the representative of executive authority and the body subordinated to that authority. It concluded that the applicants’ right of access to a court had thereby been impaired in its very essence.

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