Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2018:910

Case C619/18

European Commission


Republic of Poland

(Expedited procedure)

Summary — Order of the President of the Court, 15 November 2018

Judicial proceedings — Expedited procedure — Conditions — Circumstances justifying the matter being dealt with within a short time — Doubts as to the independence of the Supreme Court of a Member State — Admissibility of the use of that procedure

(Art. 2 TEU; Art. 267 TFEU; Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Art. 47; Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice, Art. 133(1))

In the context of an application for expedited procedure, made in an action for failure to fulfil obligations following doubts entertained by the Commission as to the actual ability of a Supreme Court of a Member State, following legislative amendments relating to the lowering of the age at which the members of that Supreme Court retire and the conditions on which those judges may, if necessary, be authorised beyond that age to continue to carry out their duties, to continue to rule in compliance with the fundamental right of any individual to have access to an independent court, as enshrined in Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the requirement of judicial independence forms part of the essence of the fundamental right to a fair trial, a right which is of cardinal importance as a guarantee that all the rights which individuals derive from EU law will be protected and that the values common to the Member States set out in Article 2 TEU, in particular the value of the rule of law, will be safeguarded.

In addition, the uncertainties thus surrounding the disputed national provisions are also liable to have an effect on the working of the system of judicial cooperation embodied by the preliminary ruling mechanism provided for in Article 267 TFEU, the keystone of the EU judicial system, for which the independence of the national courts, and particularly those ruling at last instance, is essential.

In the light of the foregoing, a response from the Court within a short time is such as, for the purposes of legal certainty, in the interest of both the European Union and the Member State concerned, to remove the uncertainties relating to fundamental questions of EU law and concerning in particular the existence of possible interference with certain fundamental rights safeguarded by EU law and the effects which the interpretation of that law is likely to have as regards the actual composition and working conditions of the Supreme Court of that Member State.

(see paras 19-22, 25)