Disciplining Judges
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Disciplining Judges

Contemporary Challenges and Controversies

Edited by Richard Devlin and Sheila Wildeman

Globally, countries are faced with a complex act of statecraft: how to design and deploy a defensible complaints and discipline regime for judges. In this collection, contributors provide critical analyses of judicial complaints and discipline systems in thirteen diverse jurisdictions, revealing that an effective and legitimate regime requires the nuanced calibration of numerous public values including independence, accountability, impartiality, fairness, reasoned justification, transparency, representation, and efficiency.
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Chapter 12: Weaponizing judicial discipline: Poland

Fryderyk Zoll and Leah Wortham

Abstract

The Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS-Law and Justice) party weaponized judicial discipline seeking a “silver bullet” to pierce the Polish constitution’s judicial independence protections within a veil of autocratic legalism. The chapter puts judicial discipline in context of PiS’s attempted legal system takeover. PiS exploited weaknesses in the existing system’s open-ended standards and informal process, which are common to many other countries. The chapter describes the Muzzle Act’s February 2020 escalation in response to Polish judicial resistance and Court of Justice of the European Union rulings and closes with the continuing battle regarding separation of powers, rule of law, and constitutionalism.

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