Poland tells EU it will shut down disciplinary chamber for judges

Poland has told the European Union it will shut down a controversial chamber at its Supreme Court devoted to disciplining judges.

The EU”s top court had said the chamber undermined judicial independence and contravened EU law.

Poland were set a deadline of Monday to inform Brussels how it would proceed.

The Polish government said it sent a letter to the European Commission on Monday confirming it would disband the chamber.

Warsaw insisted it needs to have ways to punish judges who break the law or otherwise abuse their positions and said it would find ways to do this as it continues its reforms of the judicial system.

The Polish government also insisted that Polish law has primacy over EU law, another issue that has been at the centre of recent disputes between Warsaw and the EU.

EU Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said Poland’s letter had been received and was being analysed.

“We are looking into the reply before deciding about possible further steps,” Wigand told the daily news conference.

Since Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice party took power in 2015, it has overhauled the justice system to give the party new powers over the courts and appointment of judges.

The changes have drawn strong criticism and warnings of sanctions from the EU, which considers many of the changes to violate the democratic principle of the separation of powers.

Poland could have faced financial sanctions had it not responded to the European Commission and the injunction by Monday.

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