The European Union and the polish constitutional court reform: an example of crisis of powers separation with «smoke signals» by Brussels?

di Fabio Ratto Trabucco*

The Law of 2016 on the Polish constitutional court leaves no doubts that the parliamentary majority lead by Law and Justice party (PiS) is not holding back and is determined to see its plan through to make sure that Polish constitutional court is finally tamed and incapacitated. The institution once recognized as powerful, efficient and independent from whatever powers that be is left at the mercy of the politicians, and unable to effectively wield its power of judicial review. Most importantly, the Law will make it impossible for the court to provide an effective check on the excesses of the parliamentary majority. The populist PiS government, which has faced criticism at home and abroad over several controversial laws since coming to power in October 2016, said in advance that it would not recognize the ruling. The law prevents the honest and proper functioning of the constitutional court, by interfering in its independence and separation from other powers, thus violating the principles of the rule of law. Legal and opposition figures have criticized the law for paralyzing the court and removing important checks on the government’s power. In a leaked draft report, legal experts from the Council of Europe rights watchdog warned that the reforms undermined democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Poland. The reforms have set the government on a collision course with the European Union, which launched an unprecedented investigation in January 2016 into the reforms, which could result in punitive measures by art. 7, UE Treaty, which also provides for the loss of voting rights in the European Council, given that last October the Polish government has rejected the EU recommendations on the constitutional court and media. However, Brussels likely wants one hand to send a presence signal to the pro-European protests, but without arriving at a true «break» with Szydło’s and Morawiecki’s governments.

Scarica l’articolo

Scarica il numero 1/2020 – Giugno


* Fabio Ratto Trabucco, Docente a contratto di Diritto pubblico comparato IUS/21, Università di Cassino. Email:

constitutional court, European Union, Poland, rule of law, separation of powers

I nostri recapiti


Via delle Rosine, 15 - 10123 Torino

Sede di studio

Via delle Rosine, 11 - 10123 TORINO



ISSN 2421-4302

powered by