Panel II: Current directions of development of the judiciary
On Saturday 11 January 2020 a silent march of European judges took place in Warsaw in support of judicial independence in Poland. It was an impressive sight to see the many judges in their robes of office making a point about judicial independence. The action taken by European judges in January 2020 was unusual but reflected a deep concern that the integrity of the legal system in Poland had fundamentally been threatened and that something needed to be said.
An independent judiciary is essential to a free society as a guarantee that everyone will be treated equally in accordance with the law and will not be subjected to arbitrary powers. Society needs to feel confident that its judiciary cannot be manipulated by government or other powerful interests but also that they are not vulnerable when deciding cases according to law. In 2017 the Polish legislature had made a series of changes to its legal system including to the disciplinary system which appeared to target judges who expressed disagreement with the changes.