New Polish speaker refuses to release judiciary data as legal row continues

The new speaker of the Polish parliament, Elżbieta Witek, told reporters on August 21 that she will not yet release data regarding support for candidates of the new National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), but will wait for the decision of the country’s Constitutional Tribunal. 

The data contains information about the judges who supported KRS candidates, including their surnames, places of adjudication and political affiliations. The disclosure of the information would reveal if KRS judges are related to Sejm officials or have other political ties. The KRS is made up of 15 judges, chosen by the Sejm from a list of just 18. 

Mrs Witek told journalists that she has “no choice but to wait” for the judgement of the Constitutional Tribunal. In July the Polish Supreme Administrative Court ordered release of the data, but this has yet to happen.

Mrs Witek cited the constitutional and legal complexities that come with the release of the details.

“On the one hand, I have a judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court, which partly overrules the decision of the head of the Chancellery of the Sejm,” she said. “This is not a publication order, but rather a part of the decision of the head of the Chancellery of the Sejm. At the same time, I have three requests from the president of the Office for Personal Data Protection forbidding me from publishing this list until he resolves this case, because an additional entity has joined in which has questioned the disclosure of his personal data. I also received information from the Constitutional Tribunal that the it would deal with the matter of establishing compliance with the constitution.”